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News Maryland Dan Rodricks

How covering a lynching changed Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. and shaped his legendary career

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Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., born in Baltimore in 1911, became one of the leading civil rights activists of the 20th Century, serving as chief lobbyist for the NAACP when Congress passed landmark legislation on civil rights, voting rights and fair housing. Mitchell spent so much time in the halls of Congress he became known as "the 101st Senator."

Three decades earlier, Mitchell was a newspaper reporter for the Baltimore Afro-American, and it was his experience as a journalist on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in October 1933 that influenced his decision to devote his life to civil rights advocacy. Mitchell reported on the lynching of a black man named George Armwood.

In this podcast, Clarence Mitchell describes his experiences in Princess Anne, the town where Armwood was tortured and murdered by a mob 85 years ago. Armwood’s killing was the most recent of at least 44 lynchings in Maryland, where a movement to acknowledge and reconcile this dark history is gaining momentum. Mitchell sat for a recording for the Maryland Historical Society in 1977.

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