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New podcast explores death of Isafore Banks

New podcast explores death of Isafore Banks

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10- episode ‘ Unfinished: Deep South’ now available via streaming

[email protected] “Unfinished: Deep South,” a 10-episode podcast about the unsolved lynching of Isadore Banks, a Black farmer and WWI veteran, is now streaming via Stitcher.

Created and reported by Taylor Hom and Neil Shea, the documentary podcast is executive-produced by two-time Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright Lynn Nottage (Sweat, Ruined), Tony Gerber, and Peter Clowney.

Banks, a wealthy Arkansas farmer who found a way to prosper in the Jim Crow South, was tortured and killed in 1954, three weeks after the Supreme Court decision that overturned segregation. Sixty-six years later, this series investigates Banks’ murder, joining his family in their attempt to restore his legacy and solve the crime. The story explores the system of white supremacy that surrounded Banks, traced in forgotten court records, fading FBI files, and testimony of elderly witnesses.

“We first heard about Isadore Banks three years ago,” explains Hom.

“Donald Trump had just been elected president.

We’d been working mostly outside the U.S., but decided we wanted to report on our own country, to look inward. We came across a list of unsolved race crimes compiled by the FBI. There were dozens of victims, reaching back to the 1930s.

It was an accounting of America’s unfinished business, and it seemed like that business was bubbling back up, reminding us that we all had a stake in it.”

Nottage adds, “Now more than ever, we need to interrogate our past, and come to terms with how the painful legacy of lynching in this country continues to shape the way Black bodies are systematically violated.”

From the Stitcher website: “A small town. A brutal murder. A journey into the heart of America’s unfinished business. Unfinished: Deep South is a race to resolve the unfinished business of a small Arkansas town by starting with one question: who lynched Isadore Banks? Isadore Banks was a wealthy African American farmer and WWI veteran who found a way to prosper in the Jim Crow South — that is, until he was tortured and killed in 1954, just three weeks after the momentous Supreme Court decision that overturned segregation. Sixty-six years later, this series investigates Banks’ murder, joining his family in their attempt to restore his legacy and solve the crime before the story goes cold forever. By illuminating one man’s life, our story explores the system of white supremacy that surrounded Banks, traced in forgotten court records, fading FBI files, and testimony of elderly witnesses.”

The first two episodes of “Deep South: Unfinished” are available to stream now at www.stitcher.com.

Photo by Ralph Hardin

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