‘Frontline’ revisits Louisiana editor’s work on Ku Klux Klan murder case

Published: Feb. 14, 2022

By: LSU Manship School News Service

LSU Cold Case Project Students Matthew Clark, left, and Alyssa Berry, right, interviewed Henry Austan, who was a member of the Deacons for Defense and Justice. (Courtesy of LSU Cold Case Project)

The work of a longtime Louisiana newspaper editor will be included in a PBS “Frontline” documentary Tuesday on the 1967 Ku Klux Klan murder of Wharlest Jackson, a 37-year-old Black man in Natchez, Mississippi.

Jackson, who had five children, was treasurer of the Natchez NAACP. He was killed when a bomb planted beneath his truck exploded while he was riding home from work.

The editor, Stanley Nelson, researched the Jackson case and other Klan murders for many years before retiring from the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday in December.

Nelson was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for his work on a similar case, and he has written two books on cold case murders from the civil rights era. He also helped found the LSU Cold Case Project at the Manship School of Mass Communication, where he works as an adjunct professor.

Entitled “American Reckoning,” the Frontline film also follows the work of Jackson’s wife, Exerlena, a civil rights activist who has since died.

In the film, the couple’s surviving children tell the story of their family and of their quest to find justice for their father.

Read more at Louisiana Illuminator

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