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JALC to Host Acclaimed Author and Journalist Jerry Mitchell and US Attorney Don Cochran to Discuss Race Against Time

Published on February 28, 2023

On Wednesday, March 1, from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM, John A. Logan College will host award-winning author and journalist Jerry Mitchell to discuss his Book Race Against Time. According to the book’s publisher, Simon and Schuster, in Race Against Time, Mitchell takes readers on the twisting, pulse-racing road that led to the reopening of four of the most infamous killings from the days of the civil rights movement, decades after the fact. His work played a central role in bringing killers to justice for the assassination of Medgar Evers, the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer, the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, and the Mississippi Burning case. Mitchell reveals how he unearthed secret documents and found long-lost suspects and witnesses, building up evidence strong enough to take on the Klan. He takes us into every harrowing scene along the way, as when Mitchell goes into the lion’s den, meeting one-on-one with the very murderers he is seeking to catch. His efforts have put four leading Klansmen behind bars years after they thought they had gotten away with murder.

Joining Mitchell will be US Attorney Don Cochran. From 1998 to 2002, Mr. Cochran was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Alabama. During that time, he prosecuted criminal cases involving white-collar crimes, public corruption, and violent crimes, including the successful prosecution of the final defendant charged it the historic 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four girls.

Award-winning author John Grisham praised Mitchell’s work.

“For almost two decades, investigative journalist Jerry Mitchell doggedly pursued the Klansmen responsible for some of the most notorious murders of the civil rights movement. This book is his amazing story. Thanks to him and courageous prosecutors, witnesses, and FBI agents, justice finally prevailed,” said Grisham.

John A. Logan College President Dr. Kirk Overstreet is proud of the work of the John A. Logan College Diversity and Inclusion Committee to bring events to campus to help educate and inform students.

“Black History Month is a time for us to reflect on struggles, triumphs, setbacks, and progress. As educators, we are responsible for standing with, supporting, and teaching our students and the community these stories of struggle and triumph, said Overstreet. “Over the next month, we will be posting stories on the JALC website and supporting events that are taking place in our communities and on campus in honor of Black History Month. I hope everyone will take the time to engage, learn, and grow.”

The Event is free and open to the public. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosts various events throughout the year. Events scheduled for the Spring semester can be found at