Aug. 31, 1904

George Poage became the first Black American to compete and win a medal in the Olympic games, capturing bronze medals in the 200-yard and 400-yard hurdles in the Olympics in St. Louis. A year earlier, the star athlete and student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse became the first black Big Ten track competitor, winning the same events. But after the games, he was largely forgotten, working in a high school and then as a postal clerk before being buried in an unmarked grave. A headstone now marks his grave, and the city of La Crosse has named a city park after him. In 2016, the city unveiled a sculpture to honor the athlete.

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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.