Jerry Mitchell, Keynote Speaker for the Breakfast Session, Friday, April 17, 2020.
From the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting: "The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped lead to convictions of Klansmen guilty of some of the nation’s most notorious crimes — the 1963 assassination of Mississippi NAACP Medgar Evers, the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four girls and the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andy Goodman and Mickey Schwerner. His work also led to the 2016 conviction of Felix Vail — the oldest conviction in a serial killer case in U.S. history. For more than thirty years, his stories have exposed injustices, corruption, and abuse of power. His work has prompted prosecutions, spurred reforms of state agencies, and led to firings of state board officials.
A winner of a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant and more than 30 other national awards, including being named a Pulitzer Prize finalist, his memoir about his pursuit of civil rights cold cases, Race Against Time, for Simon & Schuster, is expected to be released in 2020."
Pamela Junior, Keynote Speaker for the Breakfast Session, Saturday, April 18, 2020.
Motivational speaker, historian, and women's activist, Pamela D.C. Junior is the newly appointed director of the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson, Mississippi. As former manager of Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, Pamela fought passionately and tirelessly to make the museum a first-class place of interpretation, bringing the museum from financial struggles to features across the nation, most notably, one of CNN’s “50 States, 50 Spots.” After seventeen years of service at Smith Robertson Museum, Pamela became the inaugural director of the first state-sponsored civil rights museum in the nation, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, where she welcomed more than 250,000 visitors in her first year. Today, she is at the helm of the Two Mississippi Museums where she continues her tireless work to share the stories of Mississippi with audiences all over the world. Pamela believes the stories told in the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum should be used as an educational tool for students. In her words, “If we teach children about the history of Mississippi—sharing the events that give us hope and bring us despair in a public space, where we see examples of people who never gave up, whose strength and tenacity can now give us hope and inspire us all to see others as we see ourselves— you will secure a twinkle in the eyes of many that will last a lifetime.”
Pamela has been honored over the years for her professional work as well as her community work. In 2015, she was awarded the Margaret Walker Center’s coveted For My People Award, in 2018 she was selected as Visit Jackson’s Hometown Hero and the Magnolia Bar Association’s Harriet Tubman Award, and most recently, she was honored with the 2019 Association of African American Museums Leadership Award for her work in the museum field.
Pamela continues to serve her community with her recent appointments as board member for Visit Jackson and advisory board member for the Mississippi Book Festival. She is also an active member of Women for Progress of Mississippi, where she is a champion for women’s rights. As a woman who knows that she did not get to this position without standing on the shoulders of many women whose vision for African Americans lives on today, she gives homage to the great women of her life such as her grandmother, mother, and mentors.
Pamela is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, and earned a B.S. in Education, with a minor in Special Education from Jackson State University.