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‘Race Against Time:’ Is It Too Late To Solve Civil Rights Era Cases?

Investigators uncover the remains of civil rights volunteers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney under thick red clay of an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi in July of 1964. The volunteers, all in their 20s, died at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan while working to register black voters during the Freedom Summer civil rights campaign.
Investigators uncover the remains of civil rights volunteers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney under thick red clay of an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi in July of 1964. The volunteers, all in their 20s, died at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan while working to register black voters during the Freedom Summer civil rights campaign.

Reporter Jerry Mitchell has been busy for the past 30 years. He’s been  investigating unsolved murder cases from the civil rights era. They were cases that went unsolved often not because no one knew who did it, but no one would speak up.

He revealed how juries had been tampered with and how a prosecutor had the “missing” murder weapon in his bedroom closet. He sat down with white supremacists suspected of murder, and they talked to him.

Mitchell’s reporting led to the reopening of several cases over the years, including the one at the center of “Mississippi Burning” of the three civil rights workers killed in 1964, and of Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers the year before.

But there were many more who didn’t see justice. Is it too late?

Mitchell’s new book is called “Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era,” and we talk to him about his work.

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