Race Against Time:
A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era
This event includes a book signing
February 21, 2020
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed journalist JERRY MITCHELL—known for his tireless investigation of Civil Rights era murder cases which put Klansmen behind bars decades later—for a discussion of his memoir, Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era.
About Race Against Time
On June 21, 1964, more than twenty Klansmen murdered three civil rights workers. The killings, in what would become known as the “Mississippi Burning” case, were among the most brazen acts of violence during the civil rights movement. And even though the killers’ identities, including the sheriff’s deputy, were an open secret, no one was charged with murder in the months and years that followed.
It took forty-one years before the mastermind was brought to trial and finally convicted for the three innocent lives he took. If there is one man who helped pave the way for justice, it is investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell.
In Race Against Time, Mitchell takes readers on the twisting, pulse-racing road that led to the reopening of four of the most infamous killings from the days of the civil rights movement, decades after the fact. His work played a central role in bringing killers to justice for the assassination of Medgar Evers, the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer, the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham and the Mississippi Burning case. Mitchell reveals how he unearthed secret documents, found long-lost suspects and witnesses, building up evidence strong enough to take on the Klan. He takes us into every harrowing scene along the way, as when Mitchell goes into the lion’s den, meeting one-on-one with the very murderers he is seeking to catch. His efforts have put four leading Klansmen behind bars, years after they thought they had gotten away with murder.
Race Against Time is an astonishing, courageous story capturing a historic race for justice, as the past is uncovered, clue by clue, and long-ignored evils are brought into the light. This is a landmark book and essential reading for all Americans.
Praise for Race Against Time
“For almost two decades, investigative journalist Jerry Mitchell doggedly pursued the Klansmen responsible for some of the most notorious murders of the civil rights movement. This book is his amazing story. Thanks to him, and to courageous prosecutors, witnesses, and FBI agents, justice finally prevailed.” —John Grisham, author of The Guardians
“Jerry Mitchell's memoir revives promise for journalism. In this stirring, insider's account of four notorious crimes from the 1960s, his tenacious allies defy race and resignation to win historic miracles for justice." —Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Parting the Waters
"Jerry Mitchell is an instrument of redemption for Mississippi, and boy do we need him now. Read his story and be inspired by it.” —Greg Iles, New York Times bestselling author of Cemetery Road and Natchez Burning
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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