Jerry Mitchell Investigative Reporter with the Clarion Ledger gives insight to cases he investigated regarding the Civil Rights Movement.
The Rotary Club of Jackson was pleased to welcome Jerry Mitchell, Investigative Reporter with the Clarion Ledger.
 
The invocation was given by Jim Warren, the pledge of allegiance was led by Ted Jackson and President Winters led the Four Way Test. Visiting Rotarians and guests were welcomed by Bill Robertson. 
 
Seated at the head table included Andy Hammond with Young Wells Wilkins, Patty Furr with the Hinds County Library System, Leroy Walker of LTment Inc., and Tom Johnson who introduced today’s speaker.
 
Selena Swartzfager highlighted the new approach to recognizing programs within JPS schools, acknowledging entire school initiatives.  This quarter RCJ recognized Raines Elementary School and their principal Dina Owens. This school made strong leaps to improving the overall school rating.
 
Mark Fields presented the slate of Officers (2019-2020) and Directors (2019-2021).  With no alternative candidates or opposition.  President will be Janet Scott, Vice President-Leroy Walker.  Board of Directors are Bill Blackwell, George Gammon, Allan Cole, Selena Swartzfager, Sandra Shelson and Becky White.  Congratulations to all.
 
The hat was passed to reward the lunch workers from Belhaven for a job well done.
 
Alan Cole presented an opportunity to have a Rotary License plate. If interested in a tag, send vehicle information to Allan Cole at allancu@gmail.com or 323-440-2550 or mfields@gmail.com or 601-918-2704.
 
The RCJ will be ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at the Kroger on I-55 on December 20, 2019 from 10am-8pm.
 
Tom Johnson introduced our speaker, Jerry Mitchell.  Jerry W. Mitchell is an American investigative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, a newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi. He convinced authorities to reopen seemingly cold murder cases from the Civil Rights Era, prompting one colleague to call him "the South's Simon Wiesenthal".[1] In 2009, he received a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation
 
Mitchell was a court reporter for the Clarion-Ledger in 1989 when the film Mississippi Burning inspired him to look into old civil rights cases that many thought had long since turned cold. His investigations have led to the arrest of several Klansmen and prompted authorities to reexamine numerous killings during the civil rights era.
 
In 1996, he was portrayed by Jerry Levine in the Rob Reiner film, Ghosts of Mississippi, about the murder of Medgar Evers and the belated effort to bring killer Byron De La Beckwith to justice. He was featured in The Learning Channel documentary Civil Rights Martyrs that aired in February 2000 and was a consultant for the Discovery Channel documentary Killed by the Klan which aired in 1999.
 
Mitchell's work so far has helped put at least four Klansmen behind bars: Byron De La Beckwith for the 1963 assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers, Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers for ordering the fatal firebombing of NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer in 1966, Bobby Cherry for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four girls and, most recently, Edgar Ray Killen, for helping orchestrate the June 21, 1964, killings of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman.
 
His work inspired others. Since 1989, authorities in Mississippi and six other states have reexamined 29 killings from the civil rights era and made 27 arrests, leading to 22 convictions.
 
Mitchell, who joined the Clarion-Ledger in 1986, has been profiled by Nightline, USA Today, the New York Times, American Journalism Review and others. He has regularly appeared as an expert on CNN, the Lehrer News Hour and other programs.
 
President Winters gave a heartfelt thank you to Mr. Mitchell and closed the program with Service Above Self.