By Steve Neavling
Tune into 910AM the Superstation  at 11 a.m Friday for a discussion on the release of files on civil rights killings.
The long-awaited release of secret John F. Kennedy assassination files has prompted a push for the FBI to release secret or redacted files on killings during the civil rights era.
Students from Highstown High School in New Jersey lobbied Congress to make the files public.
“This issue is not as prominent within the mainstream media, but it should be,” one of the students, senior Zabir Rahman, told the Clarion Ledger . “The families of the victims of these atrocious crimes deserve justice if they can get it and some measure of closure.”
The students used the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992 as a model for what they called the “Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2017,” which would create an independent review board to coordinate the release of classified records on civil rights killings.
Many of the killings are detailed in FBI files that remain largely redacted. They include the KKK’s 1964 killing of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner and the 1959 lynching of Mack Charles Parker.
FBI records on the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. also contain redactions.
Activists also are calling on redacted files relating to the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X.
Civil rights lawyers said the largely secret files make it difficult to solve cold cases.
The measure to release the files was introduced in March by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, and is under consideration by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
So far the bill has received bipartisan support. Also backing the bill is Cynthia Deitle, a former FBI special agent who ran the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Cold Case Division.
“The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2017 is a crucial piece of legislation that must be passed by Congress and signed by President Trump,” she Deitle in a statement. “We as a society can no longer wait for vital records housed within the FBI to stay within their exclusive control. The federal government needs to release the records to researchers, academics, journalists and others who are devoted to finding the truth as to what happened to thousands of individuals who were murdered as a result of racially-motivated homicides. We have the ability, with passage of this act, to rewrite history and bring justice long delayed.”