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Key Articles from Howell's reporting career

Howell Raines’ Pulitzer Prize winning account of his friendship with his family’s young African American Housekeeper Gradystein Williams. Gradystein would open an adolescent Howell’s eyes to the discrimination and fear which were daily realities for Black people in the segregation era south, and the two would forge a close and lifelong friendship which provided him with a perspective few non-Black people in the 60s south were privy to, and would have a hand in inspiring him to pursue exposing  Klu Klux Klan activity through his journalism. 

Grady's Gift 

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This article exposes the relationship between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Klan member and FBI informant Gary Thomas Rowe  Jr., demonstrating the web of corruption and incompetence that allowed the Klan to operate during the 1960s. Howell reports on the Justice Department report exposing the FBI’s knowledge of Gary Thomas Rowe’s participation in several Klan beatings of Freedom Riders, as well as their covering up of evidence linking him to multiple  murders. 

FBI Covered up Informer's role in  1960's Klan Attacks

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Demonstrating Howell’s willingness to confront corruption even in the highest echelons of political power, this article, Building on the reporting from the article exposing the FBI’s knowledge of Gary Rowe’s participation in racial violence as an informant, uses information from the FBI’s Birmingham office to show efforts  to prosecute suspects for the 1963 16th street church bombing were repeatedly blocked by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, despite the Birmingham Bureau having eyewitness testimony linking  the eventually  prosecuted Robert Chambliss and three other men to the church bombing. 

Federal report says Hoover barred trial for four Klansmen in ’63 church bombing 

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One of Howell's most high profile early forays into  investigative journalism, historical documentation, and examining the dark side of his beloved home state of Alabama, each of which would become hallmarks of his journalistic career. Within the article Howell provides investigative analysis on previously unknown facts of the 16th Street church bombing, exposing the ties between the Birmingham police and the Klan members responsible for the bombing, as well as reckoning with his own feelings as a white college student growing up alongside, but sheltered from, the racial violence of the time period. 

The Birmingham Bombing

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