One Book, One Community

Just MercyThe University of Arkansas One Book, One Community committee has selected Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson for this year’s reading program.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

“Bryan Stevenson is one of my personal heroes, perhaps the most inspiring and influential crusader for justice alive today, and Just Mercy is extraordinary. The stories told within these pages hold the potential to transform what we think we mean when we talk about justice.”

—MICHELLE ALEXANDER, author of The New Jim Crow

“This is a remarkably readable and accessible book, and I can see it fitting in very well in any number of course curriculums,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the One Book, One Community committee. “The committee made a particular effort this year to make our selection in time for faculty members to consider adding it to their courses, so we can increase the number of students reading it.” 

Bryan Stevenson on The Daily Show

Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy, is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama, and a professor of law at NYU’s School of Law. He will visit the U of A Thursday, Nov. 3, and give a free public lecture on his book at 6:30 p.m. (Lecture location TBD). He will also speak to Fayetteville Public Library book club members at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4.

The book will be suggested reading for all U of A freshmen in the University Perspectives class, and is expected to be a part of other course curriculums as well. Book clubs connected to the Fayetteville Public Library will be reading Just Mercy and all members of the university and Northwest Arkansas communities are encouraged to read and discuss it.