James Reeb was an American Unitarian Universalist minister, pastor, and activist during the Civil Rights Movement in Washington, D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts. While participating in the Selma to Montgomery marches actions in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, he was murdered by white segregationists, dying of head injuries in the hospital two days after being severely beaten. Three men were tried for Reeb’s murder but were acquitted by an all-white jury. His murder remains officially unsolved.
Frances Bowden is the proprietor of Selma Bail Bonds, which was located adjacent to the crime scene. After the death of Namon (Duck) Hoggle, and learning that William Portwood had admitted to being involved, Bowden gave an account of what she saw that night from the window of her business. In summary, she stated that Elmer Cook, William Stanley Hoggle, Duck Hoggle, and William Portwood assaulted Reverends Reeb, Olsen, and Miller. It was Elmer Cook who swung the club and struck Reverend Reeb