LAW & CRIME

Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era

S. & S. Feb. 2020. 432p. ISBN 9781451645132. $28. CRIME
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As reporter for the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, MS, from the 1980s through the 2010s, Mitchell’s investigative reporting led to the reopening of some of the most notorious murder cases of the civil rights era, including new trials in Mississippi for the murders of Medgar Evers and Vernon Dahmer, and in Alabama for the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. This memoir, with Mitchell often at the center of the story, covers the cases he investigated, each one ultimately leading to the long overdue conviction of the murderers. Mitchell is skilled at interviewing suspects and their accomplices, and the book includes chilling profiles of unrepentant Ku Klux Klan members. In looking back at each case, Michell demonstrates the ways that politicians and judges influenced the outcome of the original trials, and reminds us that the pursuit of justice has always been a political act.
VERDICT While there are many other books that discuss these cases, Mitchell’s active participation in the investigations provides a unique perspective. Recommended for readers interested in civil rights-era American history and legal nonfiction.

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