Race Against Time – Jerry Mitchell
“Race Against Time” is a non-fiction book written by investigative journalist Jerry Mitchell. The book chronicles Mitchell’s career as a journalist and his investigations into some of the most heinous civil rights-era crimes in American history. Mitchell’s work has resulted in the successful prosecution of several individuals responsible for these crimes, including the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.
The book is divided into four sections, each focused on a different case that Mitchell investigated. The first section focuses on the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963. Evers was a leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Mississippi, and his assassination sent shockwaves through the civil rights movement. Mitchell’s investigation into the case began in the 1980s, nearly twenty years after Evers’ death. Mitchell’s work ultimately led to the successful prosecution of Evers’ killer, Byron De La Beckwith.
The second section of the book focuses on Mitchell’s investigation into the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The bombing, which was carried out by members of the Ku Klux Klan, resulted in the deaths of four young girls. Mitchell’s investigation into the case began in the 1980s and ultimately led to the successful prosecution of several Klansmen involved in the bombing.
The third section of the book focuses on the investigation into the murder of Vernon Dahmer, a civil rights activist who was killed in 1966 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Dahmer was targeted by the Ku Klux Klan for his work in registering African Americans to vote. Mitchell’s investigation into the case began in the 1990s and ultimately led to the successful prosecution of Klansman Sam Bowers, who was responsible for ordering the attack on Dahmer.
The fourth and final section of the book focuses on the case of the 1964 “Mississippi Burning” murders. Three civil rights workers – James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner – were murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, by members of the Ku Klux Klan. Mitchell’s investigation into the case began in the 1990s and ultimately led to the successful prosecution of several individuals responsible for the murders.
Throughout the book, Mitchell chronicles his investigations into these cases and the obstacles he faced in trying to bring those responsible to justice. He also explores the broader societal issues that contributed to these crimes, including institutionalized racism, political corruption, and the legacy of slavery in the United States. The book offers a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggle for racial justice and the importance of holding those responsible for hate crimes accountable.
“Race Against Time” is a compelling and thought-provoking book that sheds light on some of the most significant civil rights-era crimes in American history. Mitchell’s writing is both engaging and informative, and he offers a unique perspective on the challenges faced by journalists working to uncover the truth. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in civil rights history and the ongoing fight for justice and equality in the United States.