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Discrimination

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  1. 14.0 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    In 1945, Willie McGee, a young African American man from Laurel, Mississippi, was sentenced to death for allegedly raping Willette Hawkins, a white housewife. At first, McGee’s case was barely noticed, covered only in hostile Mississippi newspapers and far-left publications such as the Daily Worker. Then Bella Abzug, a young New York labor lawyer, was hired by the Civil Rights Congress—an aggressive civil rights organization with ties to the Communist Party of the United States—to oversee McGee’s defense. Together with William Patterson, the son of a slave and a devout believer in the need for revolutionary change, Abzug and a group of white Mississippi lawyers risked their lives to plead McGee’s case. After years of court battles, McGee’s supporters flooded President Harry S. Truman and the U.S. Supreme Court with clemency pleas, and famous Americans—including William Faulkner, Albert Einstein, Jessica Mitford, Paul Robeson, Norman Mailer, and Josephine Baker—spoke out on McGee’s behalf. By the time the case ended in 1951 with McGee’s public execution in Mississippi’s infamous traveling electric chair, “Free Willie McGee” had become a rallying cry among civil rights activists, progressives, leftists, and Communist Party members. Their movement had succeeded in convincing millions of people worldwide that McGee had been framed and that the real story involved a consensual love affair between him and Mrs. Hawkins—one that she had instigated and controlled. As Heard discovered, this controversial theory is a doorway to a tangle of secrets that spawned a legacy of confusion, misinformation, and pain that still resonates today. The mysteries surrounding McGee’s case live on in this provocative tale of justice in the Deep South. Based on exhaustive documentary research—court transcripts, newspaper reports, archived papers, letters, FBI documents, and the recollections of family members on both sides—Mississippi native Alex Heard tells a moving and unforgettable story that evokes the bitter conflicts between black and white, North and South, in America. 

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    The Eyes of Willie McGee

    14.0 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  2. 11.2 hrs • 2/21/2012 • Unabridged

    From Pulitzer Prize winner Raymond Bonner comes the gripping story of a grievously mishandled murder case that put a twenty-three-year-old man on death row.   In January 1982, an elderly white widow was found brutally murdered in the small town of Greenwood, South Carolina. Police immediately arrested Edward Lee Elmore, a semiliterate, mentally retarded black man with no previous felony record. His only connection to the victim was having cleaned her gutters and windows, but barely ninety days after the victim’s body was found, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.   Elmore had been on death row for eleven years when a young attorney named Diana Holt first learned of his case. After attending the University of Texas School of Law, Holt was eager to help the disenfranchised and voiceless—she herself had been a childhood victim of abuse. It required little scrutiny for Holt to discern that Elmore’s case reeked of injustice—plagued by incompetent court-appointed defense attorneys, a virulent prosecution, and evidence that was both misplaced and contaminated . It was the cause of a lifetime for the spirited, hardworking lawyer. Holt would spend more than a decade fighting on Elmore’s behalf.   With the exemplary moral commitment and tenacious investigation that have distinguished his reporting career, Bonner follows Holt’s battle to save Elmore’s life and shows us how his case is a textbook example of what can go wrong in the American justice system. He reviews police work, evidence gathering, jury selection, work of court-appointed lawyers, latitude of judges, iniquities in the law, prison informants, and the appeals process. Throughout, the actions and motivations of both unlikely heroes and shameful villains in our justice system are vividly revealed.              Moving, enraging, suspenseful, and enlightening, Anatomy of Injustice is a vital contribution to our nation’s ongoing and increasingly important debate about inequality and the death penalty.

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    Anatomy of Injustice by Raymond Bonner

    Anatomy of Injustice

    11.2 hrs • 2/21/12 • Unabridged
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