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Money to probe cold rights cases advances

PETER HARDIN
TIMES-DISPATCH WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT
reports …

WASHINGTON — Widows of two civil-rights activists slain in the 1960s appealed to Congress yesterday to help bring justice in scores of cold murder cases from that era.

To do so, Myrlie Evers-Williams said, would aid surviving families and tell the nation “that these people’s lives were not in vain.” She testified on the 44th anniversary of the assassination in Mississippi of her husband, Medgar Evers.

Further prosecutions could help the nation understand its history better in order to heal deep wounds and achieve reconciliation, added Rita Schwerner Bender. Her husband, Michael Schwerner, was killed in Mississippi in 1964.

A House subcommittee unanimously approved a bill to authorize spending $13.5 million a year over 10 years for reopening the cases that have gone cold. Of that, $11.5 million would go to the Justice Department and the remainder to help state and local authorities.

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