Just Mercy

Back in January, that is, in the first weeks of BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY, I posted about a trip to Alabama that I took in November of last year.

On that occasion, Utz McKnight, the Chair of Gender and Race Studies at University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, had invited me to speak to his department about my work on disability. During the whirlwind day before the talk, Utz took me to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum in Montgomery and to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Museum in Birmingham. My post (with described photos) about these unforgettable experiences is here.

As you will notice if you go to the post just mentioned, I included in the post a video (with accompanying transcript) of Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the organization responsible for the creation of the National Memorial and Legacy Museum. Stevenson has dedicated his career and indeed his life to educating people about racism and the legacy of slavery in the U.S. of which mass incarceration is a piece.

In addition to his work as a lawyer and founder of EJI, Stevenson is the author of Just Mercy, the best-selling memoir about his efforts, in the late 1980s, to defend Walter McMillian, who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for a crime that he did not commit.

Just Mercy has now been made into a major motion picture (directed by Destin Daniel Cretton) of the same name in which Michael B. Jordan has been cast as Stevenson and Jamie Foxx has been cast as McMillian. By all reports, both Jordan and Foxx give spectacular performances in their respective roles. The movie also stars Brie Larson, Karan Kendrick, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, and O’Shea Jackson Jr.

The film rendition of Just Mercy opens in select theatres in the U.S. on December 25th and has a wide release everywhere on January 10th. (Free tickets had been available for special screenings in Montgomery on December 20th, but are now sold out.)

You can learn more about this outstanding film and watch a trailer of it at the Equal Justice Initiative site here, where you can also learn more about the work of the EJI and Bryan Stevenson.

A very moving YouTube video of director and cast introductions and Q & A that surrounded the world premiere of the film at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September is here.

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