APRIL 19, 1977

Alex Haley was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for “Roots”, which was also adapted for television. Network executives worried that the depiction of the brutality of the slave experience might scare away viewers. Instead, 130 million Americans watched the epic mini-series, which meant that 85% of U.S. households watched the program. The mini-series received 36 Emmy nominations and won nine. In 2016, the History Channel, Lifetime and A&E remade the mini-series, which won critical acclaim and received eight Emmy nominations.

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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.