From the “it’s never too late to do the right thing” files, via The Christian Science Monitor…
…in an article titled “Reporter Cracks Open Scores of Civil Rights Era Cases…
…Let’s get to know Jerry Mitchell a little better..
Firstly, it might help you to know that our byline is Jackson, Mississippi. If the words “civil rights era” and “Jackson, Mississippi” don’t sufficiently paint the picture for you, the article will give you a little background:
The systematic coverups for the white men who terrorized and killed blacks and white civil rights workers in the 1960s had, in that era, proved an impenetrable wall for law enforcement, as jury after jury sat silent and failed to convict.
Fast-forward to 1989, where a young reporter for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger finds himself in the possession of leaked Federal- and state Bureau of Investigation files, which he uses along with good old-fashioned investigation techniques to uncover and expose those responsible for decades-old crimes committed against African-Americans and civil rights activists. His work has helped re-open 100 cases.
But in many ways, the effect of Mitchell’s work has been cathartic, says James Smith, a history professor at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
“People today realize that Mississippi, if we’re not fair to everybody, then we’re dead in the water as a community,” says Mr. Smith. “Our future and quality of life depend on learning to pull together, so part of that is resolving issues of the past.”