No one on Alabama’s Death Row had ever been released — no one. They all proceeded without hope inevitably to the electric chair
That was the stark reality of the South in the late 1980s until African American lawyer Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard graduate originally from Delaware, rolled into town with federal grant money to establish a center to aid those nobody before wished to help.
Stevenson’s dedication — portrayed by the factual-based movie Just Mercy in theatres now — is a story of David versus Goliath, of the crusader who defies the odds, in face of personal danger and with great personal sacrifice, to rescue the dispossessed members of society.
Just Mercy, based on the autobiographical book with the same title, is not an overtly Christian movie, though there are Christian moments, undertones and underpinnings throughout.
But its story derives from the same inspiration felt by many Christian workers — whether foreign, urban or rural — who forego personal enrichment on behalf of the outcasts of society.
Stevenson is played convincingly by Michael B. Jordan. But the most compelling performance is by Jamie Foxx, who portrays McMillian.
In the movie’s most riveting scene, McMillian faces his only accuser, Ralph Myers, on appeal, with a facial expression that pleads for mercy and the uncovering of the truth. What’s amazing is how Foxx is able to communicate so clearly without words.
Myers, who initially opposed testifying falsely, cooperated in framing McMillan in order to work a better deal for his own pending criminal case.
The story of McMillian’s trumped up conviction was documented by the New York Times, the New Yorker, 60 Minutes, by two books and a host of other news agencies.
Walter “Johnny D” McMillian was a pulpwood worker in a black settlement off a dirt road outside of Monroeville, Alabama. He married Minnie McMillian, with whom he had nine children. He had no previous criminal record but became infamous in town for his affair with a white woman in town. Read the rest of Christian movie Just Mercy