Today in the American South, scores of civil rights murders remain unsolved, uninvestigated, unprosecuted, and untold. Those two legacies of violence and silence still haunt the region and continue to damage race relations in the United States.

Investigative journalist Jerry Mitchell has been re-opening many of these “cold cases” while reporting at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. His work has resulted in convictions in four cases, and has revealed evidence in several others. Last month, Mitchell was awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius Grant”—a $500,000 award. He talks about his work in an article published today by Editor & Publisher: “Aiding Justice in Civil Rights-era Murder Cases.”

Mitchell is joined by several other reporters doing similar investigations on unsolved Civil Rights-era murder cases in a collaborative project that will launch next month by the Center for Investigative Reporting, Paperny Films, and WNET in New York. Stay tuned.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Carrie Ching

Carrie Ching is an award-winning, independent multimedia journalist and producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For six years, she led digital storytelling projects at the Center for Investigative Reporting as senior multimedia producer. Her multimedia reports have been featured by, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Grist,, Fast Company, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, KQED, PBS NewsHour,, Mother Jones, Public Radio International, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review and many other publications. Her specialty is crafting digital narratives and exploring ways to use video, audio, photography, animation and interactive graphics to push the boundaries of storytelling on the Web, tablets and mobile. Her work has been honored with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Best of the West, the Online News Association, Scripps Howard, The Gracies, and was part of the entry in a Pulitzer-finalist project. Prior to her time at CIR she was a magazine and book editor, video journalist, newspaper reporter and TV comedy scriptwriter. She was on the 2010 Eddie Adams Workshop faculty as a multimedia producer working with MediaStorm to teach digital storytelling techniques to photojournalists. She completed a master’s degree in journalism at UC Berkeley in 2005.