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Shelton and Lee—two men from completely different worlds— had spent decades tormented by the same senseless crime. Now, things were about to change as they embarked on a journey for justice together.

The stretch of highway where Johnnie Mae was gunned down is now named for her. Johnnie Mae's name also hangs on the wall of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a place of great honor.

But the bond between Shelton and Lee transcends their pursuit of justice. Today, the little boy who grew up longing for a family has found comfort in an unexpected place. "[Lee's] like a father figure, just a great friend," Shelton says.

"I love Shelton like my own children," Lee says.

Together, they continue their fight. Shelton and Lee have taken their story all the way to the justice department. They say they won't stop until Johnnie Mae's case is reopened and federal charges are brought against the men alleged to be involved in the murder.

"Dr. King had a dream," Shelton says. "He has laid out the road map to justice. And I listen to his speeches all the time to remind me."

"I thank God for him because I'm able to not be bitter and not have that hatred. … My mother would say fight on until justice is done."
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FROM: The Dream Lives: A Martin Luther King Day Special
Published on March 14, 2008

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