UM Common Reading Experience 2017: Just Mercy

Don't Miss Our Fall Common Reading Events

Read the Book and Join the Conversations

“We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent. I desperately wanted mercy for Jimmy Dill and would have done anything to create justice for him, but I couldn’t pretend that his struggle was disconnected from my own. The ways in which I have been hurt—and have hurt others—are different from the ways Jimmy Dill suffered and caused suffering. But our shared brokenness connected us.”  ― Bryan StevensonJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

All Events Are Free and Open to the Public Unless Otherwise Noted 

Bryan Stevenson - Convocation Guest Speaker | Tuesday, August 22, 7:00 p.m. - 8:15 p.m. | Pavilion -  Friends, family, and the community are invited to join us for Fall Convocation to meet this year's honored guest, Brian Stevenson, author of the 2017 UM Common Reading Experience text, Just MercyMr. Stevenson is the award-winning executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University School of Law. Bring your copy of Just Mercy to be signed after the ceremony.  

Recollections and Reflections: Celebrating Fifty Years of Diversity  |  Thursday - Saturday, August 24-26, 2017  |  ​    UM School of Law        Register for the conference:      

Thursday, August 24 - Dean’s Welcome Reception: 5:30-7:00 | Law School Atrium - For those who arrive on Thursday, please join us for a reception in the Law School. Our new dean, Susan Duncan will be on hand to welcome and meet everyone.

Friday, August 25 - Welcome Room: 9:00-5:00 | Room 1021 | Registration - Drop into the Welcome Room throughout the day to register, have a drink and a snack, rest, connect with old friends, and make new ones. You can also sign up for a tour of the Law School building. Lunch: 12:00-1:15 | Law School Atrium - Come to lunch and start off the day’s events. Are you curious what the Law School is doing now? Enjoy a brief presentation on the “State of the Law School.” Panel #1: 1:30-3:00 | Room:TBD - Recollections and Reflections: Our Pioneers - Panelists: Hon. Reuben Anderson, Mr. Warren Cox, Mr. James Ford, Hon. Constance Slaughter-Harvey, Hon. Geraldine Page, Hon. A.C. Wharton. Panel #2: 3:15-4:45 | Room: TBD - Recollections and Reflections: Perspectives Over the Decades - Panelists: Rep. Willie Perkins, Hon. Isadore Patrick, Ms. Erica McKinley, LaToya Redd Thompson, Mr. Rod Hickman. Reception: 6:30.Banquet: 7:00 | Ole Miss Inn - Fee: $35 per guest, Cash Bar, We invite all of our graduates to participate in recognizing the sacrifices, strength, and determination of our pioneer graduates in breaking the color line at the Law School. Hosted by Dean Susan Duncan. Semi-Formal. Oral History Recording: Throughout the day | Room: TBD - Sign up to record an oral history and preserve your law school recollections and reflections. We would love to capture your thoughts and experiences for teachers, students, scholars, and future generations.

Crimes of the Heart (1986) | Saturday, September 23, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. | Locals Bar and Grill - Enjoy a film screening with the Oxford Film Festival and Sarah Isom Center. Southern Gothic Tragedy and Family. Plot Summary: Three sisters with quite different personalities and lives reunite when the youngest of them, Babe, has just shot her husband. The oldest sister, Lenny, takes care of their grandfather and is turning into an old maid, while Meg, who tries to make it in Hollywood as a singer/actress, has had a wild life filled with many men. Their reunion causes much joy, but also many tensions.

Mississippi Innocence Screening and Discussion with Tucker Carrington | Wednesday, September 27, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. | UM School of Law Room 1078 Weems Auditorium - Learn more about this important movement across the nation and here in Mississippi with George C. Cochran Innocence Project Director and UM Associate Professor of Law, Tucker Carrington. Professor Carrington is the founding director of the Mississippi Innocence Project (MIP) and Clinic at the University of Mississippi School of Law. In 2011, he and Joe York produced a film for the Southern Documentary Project titled Mississippi Innocence, that documents the wrongful convictions of two men and the paths that led to their exonerations in 2008. MIP’s mission is to identify, investigate and litigate actual claims of innocence by Mississippi prisoners, as well as advocate for systemic criminal justice reform. To that end, MIP drafted and helped to pass into law the State’s first-ever DNA preservation and post-conviction testing statute, as well as the State’s first compensation legislation to aid those who have been wrongfully convicted. After the 1 hour screening, Tucker will discuss the ongoing effort here in Mississippi to help those wrongfully convicted. 

Long Road to Hard Truth: The 100-Year Mission to Create the National Museum of African American History and Culture | Wednesday, October 11 | 12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.| UM School of Law Room 1078 Weems Auditorium

Judge Robert Wilkins (currently a judge on the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit) was instrumental in forming and then chairing the committee that built the new Museum of African American History on the DC Mall. He’s written a book — Long Road to Hard Truth — that tells the story. This event will include Judge Wilkins speaking for an hour followed by Q&A. Lunch provided. 

Mississippi History & Civil Rights | Thursday, October 19, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. | J.D. Williams Library Faulkner Room (3rd floor) - Bring your lunch and learn more about the highly anticipated new museums opening this December in Jackson, Mississippi. Director for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, Pamela Junior, will discuss the significance of this museum as well as the new Mississippi History Museum through sharing her experiences helping Mississippians tell their civil rights stories through the work of preservation. This has been a year of celebrating Mississippi’s 200th year as a state and a time for reflecting on what we have overcome, as well as the work still to be done, especially for justice and equality. 

Are You Ready? Dialogue Series: Let's Start the Conversation Wednesday, November 1, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. | J.D. Williams Library Room 106D Join us for coffee and conversation with Dr. Katrina Caldwell, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement, as we explore the theme of connectedness within Just Mercy.  

A Panel Discussion of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption | Monday, November 6, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. | Overby Center Auditorium | The University of Mississippi presents a panel on the bestselling novel, Just Mercy. Distinguished professors, criminal justice professionals, along with a formerly incarcerated man who was paroled due to author Bryan Stevenson’s dedication to reforming the criminal justice and prison systems will discuss and debate the chronicles of mass incarceration, punishments for juvenile offenders, and establishing relationships with incarcerated persons. Additionally, twelve restorative justice inmates at Marshall County Correctional Facility completed a book study surrounding Just Mercy, and they will be speaking during the panel via Skype to present their thoughts and connection with the novel.

Common Reading Debate - Civil Discourse on Topics in Just Mercy| Tuesday, November 7, 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. | Tupelo Room in Barnard ObservatoryTwo representatives from the College Democrats and the College Republicans will lead an open and civil debate of issues raised in Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy. Moderated by Dr. Marvin King.  

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America | Tuesday, November 14, 12:45 p.m. Lecture; 2:00 p.m. Book Signing | UM School of Law Weems Auditorium
Professor James Forman, Jr. (Yale Law School) will discuss his recent book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, which has received the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Proze for Social Justice Shortlist, 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence Longlist, one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2017, and a New Your Times Book Review Editor's Choice. 

Previous CRE Titles

  2016 Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie is one of our most acclaimed and popular writers today. With Ten Little Indians, he offers nine poignant and emotionally resonant new stories about Native Americans who, like all Americans, find themselves at personal and cultural crossroads, faced with heartrending, tragic, sometimes wondrous moments of being that test their loyalties, their capacities, and their notions of who they are and who they love. Go to the Guide


2015 The Education of a Lifetime by Robert Khayat

An 1962, while a riot was in full swing on the University of Mississippi campus over the admission of James Meredith, Robert Khayat was an All-Pro kicker for the newly integrated Washington Redskins. He had no way of knowing that, thirty-five years later, he would be leading the University of Mississippi through one of its greatest challenges — its association with the Confederate flag. Robert Khayat’s The Education of a Lifetime reveals his childhood days in Moss Point, Mississippi; the state’s segregationist policies that prevented his SEC championship baseball team from playing in the College World Series; and the sadness of watching his father’s arrest. These seemingly disparate events worked to prepare him for his future battle with the vestiges of racial strife that continued to haunt Ole Miss’ culture when he was selected as the University’s fifteenth Chancellor. Go to the Guide


2014 Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan

At the height of World War II, Oak Ridge, TN, was home to 75,000 residents, and consumed more electricity than New York City, yet it was shrouded in such secrecy that it did not appear on any map. Thousands of civilians, many of whom were young women from small towns, were recruited to this secret city, enticed by the promise of solid wages and war-ending work. What were they actually doing there? Very few know. The women who kept this town running would find out at the end of the war, when Oak Ridge's secret was revealed and changed the world forever. Go to the Guide

book cover 2013 The Unforgiving Minute  by Craig Mullaney

In this surprise bestseller, West Point grad, Rhodes scholar, Airborne Ranger, and U. S. Army Captain Craig Mullaney recounts his unparalleled education and the hard lessons that only war can teach. While stationed in Afghanistan, a deadly firefight with al-Qaeda leads to the loss of one of his soldiers. Years later, after that excruciating experience, he returns to the United States to teach future officers at the Naval Academy. Written with unflinching honesty, this is an unforgettable portrait of a young soldier grappling with the weight of war while coming to terms with what it means to be a man. Go to the Guide

book cover 2012 Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Edgar Award-winning author Tom Franklin returns with his most accomplished and resonant novel so far—an atmospheric drama set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town. More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades. Go to the Guide

book cover 2011 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. Go to the Guide

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