‘Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption’ by Bryan Stevenson

“Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape. This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice.”

From one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time, this is an unforgettable true story about the redeeming potential of mercy and a call to fix a broken system of justice. Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending the poor and wrongly convicted on death row. This book reads like a John Grisham novel, it is hugely compelling and engaging. It is a moving and personal account of stories of courage and integrity that will keep you riveted. I listened to the audio version which is narrated by the author himself. This is a great interview with the author:

If we think problems such as slavery and racism are any better in 2018, we are fooling ourselves. Stories of police violence and racial profiling tell a different story, which is why this is such a critical and important book. Some people even refer to mass incarceration of black people in America as contemporary slavery.

Walter McMillian was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a young white woman who worked as a clerk in a dry clearing store in Monroeville, Alabama. There was no tangible evidence against Mr. McMillian. He was held on Death Row prior to being convicted and sentenced to death. His trial lasted only a day and a half. Three witnesses testified against Mr. McMillian and the jury ignored multiple alibi witnesses, who were black, who testified that he was at a church fish fry at the time of the crime. The trial judge overrode the jury’s sentencing verdict for life ​​without parole and sentenced Mr. McMillian to death.

Anthony Ray Hinton, another one of Stevenson’s clients, just released a book called The Sun Does Shine, which Oprah Winfrey has endorsed and has already hit mainstream book outlets like Costco. It is a memoir of how Hinton was falsely convicted and released after 30 years. How he talks about a lifetime on death row is truly remarkable.

2 responses to “‘Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption’ by Bryan Stevenson

  1. My daughter has been exhorting me to read this book (she’s getting her masters in Social Work at Michigan and works with ex-cons)- she also recommended his TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/bryan_stevenson_we_need_to_talk_about_an_injustice
    I’ll move it to the top of the list- as soon as I recover from #4 Eleanor Oliphant…

    • Hi Nancy! So lovely to hear from you! I would highly recommend the audio version if you can get it, perhaps on your iPad from the library as ebook. To me it made it even better to hear the author reading the book and getting absorbed in the stories!

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