The 'Mississippi Burning' and Clyde Kennard Cases


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President’s Award Recipient and Acclaimed Historian Explains Why Every American Should Know About the Events


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Barry Bradford has been recognized as one of America’s best teachers and most dynamic public speakers, and the Organization of American Historians named him as the best teacher in America. The organization also named him a Distinguished Lecturer – the first and only high school teacher to earn that honor. He has received awards from the President, the Congress, and leading civil rights organizations.

He has appeared on the Today Show, The CBS Evening News, and over 75 other media outlets around the world, He was even profiled on Chinese National Television. He has authored a book, numerous articles and has served as consultant for the writing of the GED exam.

He may be best known for twice leading teams of students to reopen two of the most infamous cold cases in the history of the civil rights era. His leadership in the reopening of the Clyde Kennard case created a legal precedent that has cleared the names of three more men who were wrongfully convicted, and his tireless work in pursuing justice in the Mississippi Burning case helped lead to a conviction of Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen, and praise from both Barack Obama, an Illinois senator at the time, and conservative Mississippi Senator Trent Lott.

Mr. Bradford is the recipient of the U.S. Presidential Award for Public Service, signed by President George W. Bush, in recognition of outstanding leadership in community service. He was also named Civil Rights Teacher of the Year by the Congress of Racial Equality in recognition of his work on the Mississippi Burning case. Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and civil rights legend Rosa Parks honored his efforts in promoting tolerance in his work with the Wall of Tolerance Recognition award.

Myrlie Evers-Williams, Former NAACP President, praised Mr. Bradford’s achievements by stating: “You are a dynamic reminder of the power of one individual to make a difference. You honor Medgar by your leadership and commitment to justice. He would be proud to know he continues to inspire a new generation of leaders.”

John Lewis, one of the most beloved and respected remembers of Congress, described him as... ...“A champion of the quest for justice, leading a new generation of students to believe they can be agents of change.”

Barry Bradford joins me to discuss the Mississippi Burning case, how he managed to reopen it, and the conviction of Edgar Ray Killen. He’ll also reveal the tragic story of Clyde Kennard, how he and his legal team cleared Kennard’s name, and why race is still an issue that must be addressed in America. The Skype interview was conducted on May 13, 2015.

Information pertaining to the episode is available through the following links:

Barry Bradford website

The Mississippi Burning Case Reopened - Today Show

'Mississippi Burning' Case Reopened; 1 Man Arrested

Clyde Kennard: A Little-Known Civil Rights Pioneer

Why We Should Care about Clyde Kennard, And Why I Painted Him

Jerry Mitchell – The Civil Rights Cold Case Project

Bio for Steven Drizin, Civil Rights attorney
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