MARCH 15, 1963

The Mississippi State University basketball team slipped out of town to play in the NCAA tournament against Loyola University. Mississippi officials had refused to allow the team to play in any tournament that included integrated teams. This time, the State team took matters into its own hands, defying a state injunction. Dubbed “The Game of Change,” it played a key role in the crumbling of segregation in Mississippi and the South. The Loyola team that defeated Mississippi State went on to win the national championship.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.