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Just Mercy

Just Mercy

Equal Justice Initiative

EJI's History of Racial Injustice

About the Author

Bryan Stevenson sits with hands clasped in fronto of him.  He is wearing a blue button-down shirt and gray pants.

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. He has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned. EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Mr. Stevenson and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release from prison for over 135 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row and won relief for hundreds of others wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced.

Mr. Stevenson has argued and won multiple cases at the United States Supreme Court, including a 2019 ruling protecting condemned prisoners who suffer from dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger.

Mr. Stevenson has initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge inequality in America. He led the creation of two highly acclaimed cultural sites which opened in 2018:  the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. These new national landmark institutions chronicle the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation, and the connection to mass incarceration and contemporary issues of racial bias. 

He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government.

Text adapted from author's website.  For his full bio, please visit

Open Education Resources and Scholarly Communications Librarian

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Jennifer Pate