Crespino Reviews Mitchell’s ‘Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era’ for the ‘Wall Street Journal’

Dr. Joseph Crespino, History Department Chair and Jimmy Carter Professor of History, recently published a review article in the Wall Street Journal. Crespino’s article centers on the new book by journalist Jerry Mitchell, who, beginning in the late 1980s, launched a series of investigations that would re-open four of the most infamous acts of Southern racist violence from the 1960s. Mitchell published the book, Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era, with Simon & Schuster in early February 2020. Read an excerpt from Crespino’s review below, along with the full piece (paywall restricted): “‘Race Against Time’ Review: A Reporter for Justice.”

Race Against Time” provides a sobering view of white-supremacist politics. The power that social media now provides white-nationalist groups to spread their hatred makes the tactics of earlier generations look quaint. Weeks before Beckwith’s final retrial was scheduled to begin, fliers appeared in the driveways of hundreds of Mississippi homes describing him as a political prisoner. Mr. Mitchell traced the fliers back to Beckwith himself, who had paid some $1,000 to have them printed and distributed. Imagine by comparison the scale of disinformation and intimidation that far-right groups spread today via social media.