MARCH 27, 1867

In one of the nation’s first sit-ins, a group of Black men boarded a “whites-only” streetcar in Charleston, South Carolina, sitting among the white passengers. The conductor ordered them to move. They stayed. The police ordered them to move. They stayed. The driver unhitched the horses and left the streetcar. 

Protests expanded beyond the single line, and police arrested 11. The continuing protests led Black residents to win the right to ride in the streetcars. Their victory expanded in June when the discrimination of railroads, horse-cars and steamboats were also banned.

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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.