Race Against Time : A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era
by Mitchell, Jerry







Part I
1(46)
James Chaney
Andrew Goodman
Michael Schwerner
Chapters 1-8
Part II
47(104)
Medgar Evers
Chapters 9-28
Part III
151(68)
Vernon Dahmer
Chapters 29-44
Part IV
219(40)
Addie Mae Collins
Denise Mcnair
Carole Robertson
Cynthia Wesley
Chapters 45-52
Part V
259(124)
James Chaney
Andrew Goodman
Michael Schwerner
Chapters 53-82
Epilogue383(4)
Acknowledgments387(6)
A Note on Sources393(2)
Notes395(8)
Selected Bibliography403(6)
Index409


An award-winning investigative journalist recounts the 1964 "Mississippi Burning" murders of three civil rights workers by the KKK, describing his role in reopening the case and bringing its mastermind and participating Klansmen to justice. 150,000 first printing.





*Starred Review* Award-winning journalist Mitchell began working for Mississippi's statewide newspaper The Clarion-Ledger in 1986 as the "lowliest of reporters. After a screening of Mississippi Burning, the 1988 film about the murders of three civil rights workers, he gets a tip that there was more to the story and that many of the responsible parties were free, living in Mississippi, and likely still active in the KKK. This starts Mitchell down a road of looking into some of the highest-profile crimes of the Civil Rights era. Starting with his own investigative work, he helps to reopen the murder cases of Medgar Evers and Vernon Dahmer; the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in which four girls died; and, 20 years later, the Mississippi Burning case. Mitchell's straightforward style suits the stories perfectly: neither the families' continued heartache nor the hate of those on trial need be embellished to be affecting. While the cases themselves are drawn out over many years, the reading, especially the extensive courtroom scenes, is riveting. A great readalike for Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice (2004), this is both an important Civil Rights document and a timely read in the wake of the recent rise of hate crimes. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.





*Starred Review* Award-winning journalist Mitchell began working for Mississippi's statewide newspaper The Clarion-Ledger in 1986 as the "lowliest of reporters. After a screening of Mississippi Burning, the 1988 film about the murders of three civil rights workers, he gets a tip that there was more to the story and that many of the responsible parties were free, living in Mississippi, and likely still active in the KKK. This starts Mitchell down a road of looking into some of the highest-profile crimes of the Civil Rights era. Starting with his own investigative work, he helps to reopen the murder cases of Medgar Evers and Vernon Dahmer; the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in which four girls died; and, 20 years later, the Mississippi Burning case. Mitchell's straightforward style suits the stories perfectly: neither the families' continued heartache nor the hate of those on trial need be embellished to be affecting. While the cases themselves are drawn out over many years, the reading, especially the extensive courtroom scenes, is riveting. A great readalike for Kevin Boyle's Arc of Justice (2004), this is both an important Civil Rights document and a timely read in the wake of the recent rise of hate crimes. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.





Fast-paced account of the slow path to justice in a series of racially motivated murder cases. Mitchell, a former reporter for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger who recently founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, arrived in 1986 to a city "bursting with New South pride and Old South prejudice," one that, just a few years later, would be discomfited by the revival of interest in the "Mississippi Burning" case and like crimes of the 1950s and 1960s thanks to a movie by that name. Looking into that cold case, writes the author, "I had heard of people getting away with murder before, but I had never heard of twenty people getting away with murder at the same time"—those 20 people had carried out the killings of civil rights activists in the name of white supremacy. In a Mississippi where Emmett Till's killers confessed to the crime but still walked free, an all-white jury had acquitted a notorious racist, Byron Beckwith, in the murder of Medgar Evers—and Beckwith didn't pay a cent for his defense, the bill having been picked up by an eager "White Citizens' Council." Through dogged investigation, sifting through reams of evidence and interviewing those who were on the ground at the time, Mitchell helped inspire law enforcement officials decades after those events occurred to secure sufficient proof to convict killers who had been at liberty for most of their adult lives. Even though many of the civil rights killings have still gone unpunished, often because the perpetrators are dead, others were reckoned for, including the Birmingham church bombing that killed four little girls, one perpetrator having long publicly bragged of having helped "blow up a bunch of niggers back in Birmingham." That might have flown in the last days of Jim Crow, but, writes Mitchell, times have changed even in the segregationist stronghold of Philadelphia, Mississippi: "The town that had once protected these killers now wanted to see them prosecuted." A fine work of investigative journalism and an essential addition to the history of the civil rights movement. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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