ATLANTA — A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court's order to unseal the transcripts in grand jury proceedings in the brazen lynching of two black couples in rural Georgia more than 70 years ago.

A car carrying the four sharecroppers was stopped by a white mob at Moore's Ford Bridge in Monroe in July 1946. The four were pulled from the car and shot multiple times.

FBI agents investigated for months and identified dozens of possible suspects. But a grand jury convened in December 1946 failed to indict anyone.

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A federal judge in 2017 granted a request from historian Anthony Pitch to unseal the grand jury transcripts. But the government appealed, citing the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed the lower court ruling.

The incident has been recreated annually by a group of Civil Rights activists in front of a live audience at the spot of the murders in Monroe for more than 10 years.

Written by KATE BRUMBACK for the Associated Press.