Genius Grant Helps Reporter Track Supremacist Crimes


Jerrry Mitchell, a veteran reporter at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Ms., has made the most infamous white supremacist crimes of the 1960s the focus of his career for two decades, digging up forgotten evidence that has led to long-delayed prosecutions and convictions. Last week, says the New York Times, he became one of this year's recipients of $500,000 fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation – often called the “genius grants.”

Mitchell, 50, is once again training his sights on what may be the most notorious offense of that era, the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman, who had set out to register black voters in Mississippi. Mitchell's work has already contributed to the only homicide prosecution and conviction to come out of that case. “I'm going to take a leave from the paper and work on that,” he said. “I've got rabbit trails I still want to run down on that and some other cases. And I want to finish up a book on the various cases.”

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