FBI File on the Murder of Lemuel Penn

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On July 11, 1964, Lemuel Penn, an African-American United States Army Reserve officer, was killed by a gunshot from a passing car while driving through Madison County, Georgia, on his way home to Washington, D.C. from annual summer active duty at Fort Benning, Georgia. The car’s driver signed a statement admitting his involvement and identifying Howard Sims and Cecil Myers as the ones who fired the shots. Members of the Ku Klux Klan, Sims and Myers were tried in state superior court and found innocent of murder charges by an all-white jury. Federal prosecutors subsequently charged Sims and Myers with violating Penn’s civil rights. They were found guilty by a federal district court jury. Sims and Myers served about six years in federal prison.

This file contains a large number of newspapers clippings, numerous reports concerning Sims and Myers’s Klan-related activities, including statements from eye-witnesses, and photographs of areas where Klan meetings were held. It also includes correspondence with Lester Maddox, Thurgood Marshall, and Lyndon Johnson. The FBI file on the murder of Lemuel Penn is an important resource for studying the civil rights movement, segregation, and the Ku Klux Klan.

Number of reels: 5