Friday, February 07, 2020

Booktube presents Bryan Stevenson, author of "Just Mercy"

Booktube is a professional YouTube original channel that presents comprehensive panel interviews of authors of important recent books.

Danielle Bainbridge, Jesse Chalwick Small, and John Fish interview author and lawyer Bryan Stevenson, author of “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption”, from Spiegel and Grau, 368 pages (2015).  The 18-minute video is presented in the style of a short film, directed by Martin Akins.
This is also an important film from Warner Brothers, directed by Destin Daniel Creton (my detailed review).  The film is said to have been made with an inclusion rider for diversity in casting and production staff. For cast, that is not possible for all films.

Stevenson runs a non-profit called the Equal Justice Initiative and employs persons previously released after wrongful convictions.  The movie and book focus particularly on the narrative of Walter McMillan, who was held 15 months on death row before his trial and was convicted despite having been at a party and fundraiser miles away at the time as an alibi.
The panel also talks about Harper Lee’s “The Killing of a Mockingbird”, which became a film in 1962 and is often shown in high school.  In that film, the suspect is convicted wrongfully despite many people’s knowing he had a good alibi and could not have committed the crime.
There is the discussion of hidden white privilege as disguising the need from most (white) people to recognize the problem of wrongful conviction. The concept of “proximity”—more social purposeful social interaction with others not like you, is presented as essential to overcoming this.
Stevenson and other panelists do describe what it is like to grow up "black" in all but the most well-off black families.
Picture: Selma, with Pettus Bridge in a distance, my trip, May 2014 

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