Coroner WT Brown places a sheet over the body of one of four African American mob victims at a funeral home at Monroe, Georgia [File: AP Photo]

An historian’s quest for the truth about a gruesome mob lynching of two African American couples is prompting a United States appeals court to consider whether federal judges can order grand jury records unsealed in decades-old cases with historical significance.

The young African American sharecroppers were being driven along a rural road in the summer of 1946 when they were stopped by a white mob beside the Apalachee River, just over 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of Atlanta, Georgia. The mob dragged them out, led them to the riverbank and shot them multiple times. For months

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