Journalism professor at Baylor University, expert on American Gospel music and author of several books, including his latest, Nothing but Love in God’s Water: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. His groundbreaking work will be an important part of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture opening at the national Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2015.
A profile of Darden appears in Wacoan magazine, which named him the city’s most influential citizen in 2011: http://woty.com/recipients/robert-darden/.
As head of the Death Penalty Information Center, Dieter is the most respected and relied-upon source of information and analysis of the death penalty in the United States.
He speaks in his own words in this Q&A with a Charleston paper: www.postandcourier.com/article/20110130/ARCHIVES/301309921.
Dr. Gregory C. Ellison
An ordained Baptist minister who has served in Methodist and Presbyterian churches, Ellison is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Emory’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. He is the author of Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African-American Young Men and co-founder of Fearless Dialogues, a grassroots initiative to improve the lives of young African-American men.
He discusses his work at www.cutdeadbutstillalive.com.
Journalist, writer for the National Journal, former AP White House correspondent, and respected political commentator, Fournier’s written work is highly regarded for its depth, analysis and keen observation. One of his pieces, an eloquent and highly personal account of a trip with his son to visit two presidents, appears at www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/how-two-presidents-helped-me-deal-with-love-guilt-and-fatherhood-20121129.
Lawyer and author of best-selling novels such as The Firm and The Pelican Brief, Grisham’s books have been translated into forty different languages and turned into nine feature films. Grisham has served in the Mississippi House of Representatives and as a board member of The Innocence Project.
Here, he discusses his work with the Innocence Project: www.innocenceproject.org/news/Video/?id=tpEQfagdfXk.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, former Chicago Tribune investigative reporter, and writer/researcher, largely on criminal law issues.
His article about a project I write about in my book—a trial of Jesus under modern death penalty law—can be found at http://sojo.net/blogs/2012/10/15/death-penalty-jesus.html.
Sister Helen Prejean
Louisiana native and Catholic nun, Sister Helen is one of the world’s most reknowned moral voices speaking for abolition of the death penalty. She is the author of several books, including Dead Man Walking, the bestseller that has been turned into a play, an opera, and an Oscar-winning film. Her work is profiled on her website, www.sisterhelen.org.
Gov. George Ryan
Former Governor of the State of Illinois who made history when he declared a moratorium on the death penalty in the state in 2000, and then in 2003, commuted the death sentences of everyone on Illinois’ death row.
Below is the full text of the speech he gave at Northwestern University School of Law when he announced the commutations: www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/ryans-words-i-must-act.
Lawyer and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson has successfully argued several landmark cases in the United States Supreme Court, including the Graham, Sullivan and Miller v. Alabama cases that restricted the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for juveniles. His book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption calling for reform of overly-harsh sentences in the U.S. criminal justice system was published in 2014.
He can be heard at a TED talk at www.ted.com/speakers/bryan_stevenson.