Skip to Main Content

UCSB Reads 2016: The Author

"Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson

Author Bryan Stevenson

Author photo

Photo by Nina Subin

About the Author

Author Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer who has been representing capital defendants and death row prisoners since 1985. A MacArthur Fellow, he has argued six cases before the Supreme Court, and won a ruling on behalf of juveniles in the justice system.  Stevenson has been described by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu as “America’s young Nelson Mandela.”

He is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in in Montgomery, Alabama, a nonprofit legal organization dedicated to defending death row prisoners, juvenile offenders, people who have been wrongly convicted, and those who have suffered racial bias in the criminal justice system. 

Stevenson has initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge the legacy of racial inequality in America, including major projects to educate communities about slavery, lynching, and racial segregation.

Stevenson, who grew up poor in a racially segregated neighborhood in Delaware, is a 1985 graduate of Harvard, with a master's degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from the School of Law. He became a professor at the New York University School of Law in 1998.

His many honors and awards include the Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty (American Civil Liberties Union), Olof Palme Prize (for international human rights), and Courageous Advocacy Award (American College of Trial Lawyers).

Interviews with the Author

NPR's Fresh Air, "One Lawyer's Fight for Young Blacks and 'Just Mercy," August 2015 (audio, 39 minutes, transcript available)

Charlie Rose, "An Hour with Bryan Stevenson," August 2015 (video, 52 minutes)

BBC's HARDtalk, "Bryan Stevenson: U.S. Failing to Confront History of Facial Inequality," July 2015 (video,112 minutes)

Booklist Online, "The Booklist Carnegie Medal Interview: Bryan Stevenson," June 2015 (text)

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, "Bryan Stevenson, Extended Interview," October 2014 (video, 17 minutes)

Tavis Smiley, "Attorney-activist Bryan Stevenson," July 2014 (video, 26 minutes, transcript available)

Bill Moyers, "And Justice for Some," March 2013 (video, 56 minutes, transcript available)


Copyright © 2008-2019 The Regents of the University of California, All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Library (805) 893-2478 • Music Library (805) 893-2641 • UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9010
Contact UsPolicies