In Buried Truths, journalist Hank Klibanoff and his Emory University students investigate the death of Isaiah Nixon, a black man gunned down outside his South Georgia home in 1948 for exercising his right to vote. Examining hundreds of pages of FBI documents and spending hours poring over microfilm of archival newspapers, medical records, NAACP reports, and primary evidence held in private collections, they even relocated Nixon’s grave, long buried in mud and muck, and connected with his surviving family members. This largely forgotten incident gains new immediacy when read alongside Georgia’s more recent struggles over voter suppression. The six-part podcast series, produced by WABE, a local Atlanta station, has some of the appeal of the “true crime” genre, but constantly strives for deeper historical understanding, always placing the local particulars into broader contexts, including the codes of cross-racial friendship in a segregated society or the role of the black press in keeping stories of injustices in the public consciousness. Buried Truths deftly combines archival sound recordings—including segregationist governor Eugene Talmadge delivering an inflamed speech in the midst of a thunderstorm—with contemporary interviews to help us understand how the past touches the present. For forcing listeners to confront what previous generations had sought to repress, Buried Truths warrants a Peabody Award.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Creator: Hank Klibanoff. Producer: David Barasoain. Associate Producer: Kate Sweeney. Executive Producer(s): Christine Dempsey, Je-Anne Berry. Writer(s): Hank Klibanoff, David Barasoain. Editor: John Haas. Host: Hank Klibanoff. Sound Design: David Barasoain. Voice Actors: David Atkins, Rob Cleveland, Bryan Davis, Valerie Jackson, Tom Maples.