We woke up at the crack of sunlight today in Jackson, Mississippi to a fine breakfast again (my preferred cereal Honey Nut Cheerios) with Mr. Justin Allegri again as he ate his toast and yogurt. Our bodies weren’t yet adjusted to the two hour time difference (San Jose, you are getting two extra hours of sleep compared to us over here) so the conversation was a little slow but we ate and moved quick to be out of the hotel for our departure time of 8:15 a.m. to our first interview of the day, Jerry Mitchell.
He is the Investigative Reporter at The Clarion-Ledger, a statewide newspaper in Mississippi. His reputation is known as “a pain in the ass,” for Mitchell uncovers the truth behind those he investigates. Members of the Ku Klux Klan have been convicted in courts thanks to the information he was able to discover and unveil for the prosecution. In particular, some of the names that he provided incriminating evidence for their prosecution and imprisonment, are Sam Bowers (Imperial Grand Wizard of the KKK), Byron de la Beckwith (shooting of NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers), and Bobby Frank Cherry (KKK member who had role in the Birmingham bombing). The one that stood out the most to me (that I excluded in the previous paragraph) was Edgar Ray Killen. Not perhaps because of what he did but something else. It seemed a tad ironic to me that he organized the kidnapping and murdering of the three civil rights workers (James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner) and his last name is pronounced ‘killin’.’ To me, I don’t see Mitchell as “a pain in the ass” but rather as a truth-bearer and good person. He represents morality and fine-tuned journalism. Now I find myself and everyone in the group writing newscasts, uploading, downloading, sending pictures and videos, recording broadcasts, voiceovers, sound-on-tape, sound bites, blogging, and putting together packages and information for KTVU, Good Morning America, USA Today, and CNN underneath two escalators in a local mall in Downtown Jackson, not more than three blocks away and two hours after our brilliant interview with Jerry Mitchell. Our coordinator Dr. Cheers is seen here, reuniting with his friend, Ronnie Agnew, the Executive Editor at The Clarion-Ledger.
Night and morning.