Book about The Whitehurst Case

For more than two years, I have been working on a full-length book about The Whitehurst Case, an episode in Montgomery, Alabama that occurred from December 1975 – April 1977. Bernard Whitehurst, Jr. was a black father of four, mistaken for a robbery suspect, pursued, and shot and killed by police. The controversy over his death caused the police chief and the mayor to resign, and a dozen police officers to resign or be fired. Whitehurst's family sued the city, but lost the case. It was not until 2012 that an acknowledgment of wrongs done was issued by the state legislature.  A historic marker was erected in 2013. However, no compensation was ever paid to his widow or children.

The research process has been very difficult.
 Most of the people involved have passed away, and others still living prefer not to discuss the case.  Now, I have one major obstacle: gaining access to the twelve boxes of records from the 1976 federal lawsuit.  These records are my best hope for accessing testimony and evidence to ensure an accurate telling of this important, part of Deep Southern history in the post-Civil Rights era. Without these records, some facts of the case may never see light of day.

After more than two years of researching, interviewing and writing, my book on the Whitehurst Case is about 60% – 70% finished. These court records contain the information that will allow me to fill in some of the final blanks. The money I am seeking will only be used for court-record access and documentation; I am not asking for any money for personal compensation. The federal courts' $65 initiation fee, $35 per-box fee, and $0.50 per-copy fees, as well as transcription fees, total up to hundreds of dollars. It will take $485 just to access the boxes. The remaining $115 will allow for photocopies and transcriptions of oral testimony.


Foster Dickson
Montgomery, AL

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