JUSTICE IN MISSISSIPPI The Murder Trial of Edgar Ray Killen

Author: Ball (Howard)
Year: 2006
Publisher: Univ. Press of Kansas
Edition Details: 1st US Edn.
Book Condition: F/F
ISBN: 9780700614615
Price: 15.00
Hardback. The slaying of 3 civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1964 was a notorious event documented in the author's previous book 'Murder in Mississippi'. Now he revisits that grisly crime to tell how, four decades later, justice finally came to Philadelphia. Originally tried in 1967, Baptist minister and Klansman Edgar Ray Killen was set free because one juror couldn't bring herself to convict a preacher. Now the author tells how progressive-minded state officials finally reopened the case and, 40yrs after the fact, enabled Mississippians to reconcile with their tragic past. The second trial of 80yr old "Preacher" Killen, who was convicted by a unanimous jury, took place in June 2005, with the verdict delivered on the 41st anniversary of the crime. The author, himself a former civil rights activist, attended the trial and interviewed most of the participants, as well as local citizens and journalists covering the proceedings. The author retraces the cycle of events that led to the resurrection of this "cold case", from the attention generated by the film 'Mississippi Burning' to a new state attorney general's quest for closure. He reviews the strategies of the prosecution and defence and examines the evidence introduced at the trial - as well as evidence that could not be presented - and also relates first-hand accounts of the proceedings, including his unnerving staring contest with Killen himself from only 10ft away. The author explores the legal, social, political, and pseudo-religious roots of the crime, including the culture of impunity that shielded from prosecution whites who killed blacks or "outside agitators." He also assesses the transformation in Mississippi's life and politics that allowed such a case to be tried after so long. Indeed, the trial itself was a major catalytic force for change in Mississippi, enabling Mississippians to convey a much more positive national image for their state. The author's gripping account illuminates all of this and shows that, despite racism's long stranglehold on the Deep South, redemption is not beyond the grasp of those who envision a more just society. Illus., Notes, Bibliog. and Resources + Index. 254pp. 8vo. h/back. From the library of true crime writer, Wilfred Gregg, with his personal b/plate. F. in F. dw.


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