Rogers Hamilton was with family members in Lowndes County, Alabama when Klansmen forcibly entered their home. The men demanded that he come with them and took Rogers away. His mother later found Rogers, who was age 17 at the time, on a road; he had been shot to death. No one has ever been prosecuted for this murder that took place October 22, 1957.
As part of Syracuse University’s Law School, Cold Case Justice Initiatives, the school held a two-day event in Atlanta for 30 families of victims of unsolved murders during the civil rights era. Led by Professors Paul Johnson and Janis McDonald, SU brought the families together to meet and speak with each other, share experiences, bring attention to the unsolved crimes and learn more about the Cold Case Justice Initiatives.
Congressman John Lewis and State Representative Tyrone Brooks, who reiterated, it’s never too late for justice, greeted over 60 family members.
Rogers Hamilton’s nieces, Elizabeth Welch and Ella Mae Abrams, who were ages 8 and 9 at the time and present when he was abducted, spoke on the emotional and moving panel discussion held at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Elizabeth gestured with her finger when she talked about how a gun was put to her uncle’s head and fired.
Even though the FBI recently said it was wrapping up its Civil Rights Cold Case Initiative, which began in 2006, these family members really believe it is never too late. Each left the two-day event now knowing they are not the only ones out there suffering.