Investigative series confirms that four white men joined in the attack that killed civil rights activist James Reeb in 1965.
The Rev. James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister and activist, was killed in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. (UUA Archives)
Investigative reporters with NPR confirmed this spring that the three white men who were acquitted of the murder of the Rev. James Reeb in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 had attacked him and two other Unitarian Universalist ministers who had come to Selma to support the black voting rights march to Montgomery.
The six-part NPR podcast White Lies also tracked down a fourth assailant, William Portwood, who had refused to answer FBI questions in 1965 but who acknowledged to the NPR reporters that he had joined the attack. Portwood died while the podcast was still in production; the other three assailants are also deceased.
Listen to the podcast series and explore a multimedia gallery at npr.org.
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Christopher L. Walton was the editor of UU World and director of the UUA’s Periodicals staff group until June 2021. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah.
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