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Civil Rights Cold Cases: Uncovering the Restless and Relevant Truth

Hank Klibanoff at The City Club of Cleveland.
Hank Klibanoff at The City Club of Cleveland.

For months after three white men chased Ahmaud Arbery to his death, Georgia of 2020 looked disconcertingly like Georgia of 1950. Hank Klibanoff would know. He is a son of the South, professor at Emory University, and created the  Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project--a journalistic exploration of unpunished racially motivated killings during the civil rights era.

Hank is also the creator and host of  Buried Truths, a narrative history podcast that chronicles these hidden cold cases and explores injustices of history that are still relevant today. It is produced by WABE (NPR) in Atlanta, and winner of Peabody, Robert F. Kennedy and Edward R. Murrow awards.

Hank's podcast and Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project are not just about solving a crime. It's about finding the truth and understanding a history that is little known or long forgotten. It's about closing gaps in history and producing answers that families of victims have long despaired they would never know. Hank argues that the truth is restless, relevant, and revealed.

Hank Klibanoff is also a veteran journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize in History in 2007 for a book he co-wrote called,  The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation. He was recently nominated by President Joe Biden to the newly created Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board, where he will examine government records of unpunished, racially motivated murders of Black Americans from 1940 to 1980.

Hank Klibanoff
American journalist and Professor, Emory University

Natalia Garcia is a digital producer for the education team at Ideastream Public Media.