THE PLANK SEPTEMBER 22, 2009
Jerry Mitchell, an investigative reporter for Mississippi's Clarion-Ledger newsppaper, is the recipient of one of the MacArthur Foundation's "genius grants." If you're not familiar with Mitchell or his work, this 2005 American Journalism Review article about him is a good place to start. Long story short, if it weren't for Mithcell--and his articles that eventually led to the trials and convictions of four Klansmen for their crimes against civil rights workers back in the 1960s--the world would be a less just place. That Mitchell will use the $500,000 from MacArthur to continue his investigative journalism--and hopefully bring to justice more of those who have so far escaped punishment for their civil rights-era crimes--makes his reward even more deserved, and essential. As Mitchell told The Guardian in 2007, "The window is closing. If there are going to be cases brought, then they have got to be brought fairly quickly." The genius grant should help with that.