MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The investigation into the 1940 slaying of civil rights worker Elbert Williams in Tennessee is being reopened.
Haywood County District Attorney Garry Brown said Wednesday that his office is launching an investigation into the death of the 32-year-old Williams, who was black. His body was found in a river in Brownsville in June 1940, three days after he was taken from his home by a group of men led by a police officer.
The Department of Justice initially ordered the case presented to a federal grand jury, then mysteriously reversed itself and closed it in 1942. A U.S. attorney in Memphis declined to reopen the investigation on legal grounds in 2017.
An NAACP official has called Williams "the first martyr of the NAACP."