Historian wants grand jury transcripts in notorious lynching

Appeals court asked to rule on release of 1946 investigation of 4 killings

ATLANTA - More than 70 years after a grand jury failed to indict anyone in the brazen lynching of two young black couples in rural Georgia, a historian is seeking the transcripts from the grand jury proceedings.

A car carrying the four sharecroppers was stopped by a white mob at Moore's Ford Bridge, between Oconee and Walton counties, in July 1946. The four were pulled from the car and shot multiple times.

FBI agents investigated for months and identified dozens of possible suspects. But a grand jury convened in December 1946 failed to indict anyone.

A federal judge last year granted a request from historian Anthony Pitch to unseal the grand jury transcripts but the government appealed, citing the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.

A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments in the case Wednesday.

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