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The mass of conflicting evidence released by prosecutors fed heated arguments about how and why Officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Missouri. That has sparked a broader debate about equal access to justice for black Americans. On this Martin Luther King Day, we are re-broadcasting a discussion that first aired on November 26.

Also, Aurora, Colorado, braces for a mass murder trial, and a re-examination of President Lyndon Johnson. Was he the key to civil rights movement success, or one of the biggest obstacles?

Aurora, Colorado, Braces for Mass Murder Trial 6 MIN, 30 SEC

Two and a half years ago, James Holmes walked into a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of Batman and opened fire, killing 12 people. Holmes admits he did the killings, but argues he was legally insane. The prosecutor wants to give him the death penalty. Jury selection begins tomorrow. Jack Healy is Rocky Mountain correspondent for the New York Times.

Jack Healy, New York Times (@jackhealyNYT)

Blacks, Whites and Access to Justice 31 MIN, 52 SEC

After a grand jury failed to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, people took to the streets in 170 cities. Some said the lack of indictment proved that in the streets of America, black lives don’t matter. Reaction to the grand jury decision exposed deep racial divisions over how the justice system works in this country. Do America’s multiple justice systems provide equal treatment under the law or do they perpetuate the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow? 

Jeffrey Stewart, University of California, Santa Barbara (@BlackStudyUCSB)
Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention (@drmoore)
Bryan Stevenson, Equal Justice Initiative (@eji_org)
Michael Rains, Rains Lucia Stern

Officer Darren Wilson on fearing for his life
Moore on Ferguson and the path to peace
Carol Anderson on white rage, facts in the Michael Brown shooting case

Just Mercy

Bryan Stevenson

Re-Assessing LBJ 11 MIN, 11 SEC


The new movie Selma has focused attention on the non-violent but bloody battle by Martin Luther King, Jr., and other activists as they tried to get a Voting Rights Act passed by Congress. Was President Lyndon Johnson one of their obstacles?

The Great Society is an unprecedented package of legislation that protected the rights of African-Americans and strengthened the social safety net. The bills were passed by Congress, but they're a major part of President Lyndon Johnson's legacy. Historians disagree, though, about the role he played and how he really felt about one component: the Voting Rights Act. Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer is the author of The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress and the Battle for the Great Society. We speak with the presidential scholar about Johnson's legacy.

Julian Zelizer, Princeton University (@julianzelizer)

The Fierce Urgency of Now

Julian E. Zelizer


Warren Olney

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