Melvin Claxton is an author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Claxton began his journalism career at The Virgin Islands Daily News before holding senior investigative reporting positions at the Chicago Tribune, Detroit News, and Tennessean newspapers. He has written extensively on crime, corruption, and the abuse of political power. His series on the criminal justice system in the U.S. Virgin Islands won the V.I. Daily News a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1995.
John Fleming’s baptism in newspapers came early. His mother ran a small weekly newspaper in South Alabama, where John grew up seeing the crucial role solid journalism plays in the complex race-conscious society that is the Deep South. Fleming’s groundbreaking work on the 1965 shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson in Marion, whose death triggered the impulse for what became the Selma-to-Montgomery March, led prosecutors to bring charges against a former Alabama state trooper.
For Ben Greenberg, unraveling unsolved civil rights murders is both a professional endeavor and a personal calling. Ben’s interest in the civil rights movement was triggered in part by his research into the life of his own father, Paul A. Greenberg, who had been a special assistant to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the early 1960s. Greenberg’s pursuit of that history has led him straight to the heart of the enduring mysteries that surround many unsolved murders in Southwest Mississippi, where Ku Klux Klan activity was especially virulent.
The revival of national interest in unsolved murders from the civil rights era begins with Jerry Mitchell, a dogged investigative reporter whose work for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, has won him many descriptions. “White traitor” is one. “The South’s Simon Weisenthal” is another.
As editor of The Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday who writes a weekly column about his region's turbulent history, even Stanley Nelson has been astonished by his own discoveries about the mean, corrupt and violent behavior of Ku Klux Klansmen in the recent past. Week after week, Stanley digs out a new gem about the unsolved race murders of Frank Morris, Joe Edwards and Wharlest Jackson reports that have led the FBI to offer a reward and prompted federal and state prosecutors to join forces in probing the murders.