Cover: Racial Reckoning: Prosecuting America’s Civil Rights Murders, from Harvard University PressCover: Racial Reckoning in PAPERBACK

Racial Reckoning

Prosecuting America’s Civil Rights Murders

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Product Details


$30.00 • £24.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674976030

Publication Date: 05/08/2017


280 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

16 halftones


[An] insightful new book on the cold cases of the civil rights era.—Kevin Boyle, The Washington Post

[A] timely and significant work… Romano brilliantly demystifies the false binary of villainous white men like Beckwith or Edgar Ray Killen who represent vestiges of a violent racial past with a more enlightened color-blind society… Considering the current partisan and racial divide over the prosecution of police shootings of unarmed black men, this book is a must-read for historians, legal analysts, and journalists interested in understanding the larger meanings of civil rights or racially explosive trials in America.—Chanelle Rose, American Historical Review

Since 1990, varied agendas have intersected to push for reopening the more than 100 unsolved, racially motivated murders from the civil rights era. These efforts—on the parts of family members, local groups, journalists, prosecutors, and law professors—have led not only to convictions of murderers like Edgar Ray Killen and Byron De La Beckwith, but also to commemoration, dialog—through truth commissions such as the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation—and legislation, most notably the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007. In a splendid cultural and intellectual history of this movement, Romano explores what it means… Romano observes that legal justice, even when it leads to successful prosecution, does not equal social justice.—E. R. Crowther, Choice

An extremely important and engaging book. Romano provides a much needed link between the racist violence of our past and the persistence of white supremacy in our ‘post-racial’ era. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in justice and democracy.—Emilye Crosby, author of A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi

Over the last two decades, the violent death throes of Jim Crow have been replayed in courtrooms across the South, as prosecutors have reopened some of the most notorious murders of the civil rights era. In this wise, probing, gently skeptical book, Romano considers why these prosecutions are happening now, the truths they reveal and conceal, and what they tell us about America’s continuing racial odyssey.—James T. Campbell, author of Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787–2005

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