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My Midnight Years
My Midnight Years

My Midnight Years

Surviving Jon Burge's Police Torture Ring and Death Row

TRUE CRIME

256 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF

Cloth, $26.99 (CA $35.99) (US $26.99)

Publication Date: August 2018

ISBN 9781613737668

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Aug 2018)
Lawrence Hill Books

eBook

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Overview

The first memoir by a victim of Burge's torture ring, one of the most horrifically racist government-organized practices in America since the days of slavery

Ronald Kitchen was 21, on his way to buy milk for his four-year-old, when he was picked up by the Chicago police, brutally tortured, and coerced to confess to five counts of heinous murder. He spent 22 years in prison, 13 of those on death row. Kitchen was only one of the many victims of Jon Burge and his notorious Midnight Crew—118 others have come forward so far. Kitchen cofounded the Death Row 10 from his maximum security cellblock and fought together with those men to expose the grave injustices that led to their wrongful convictions. The Death Row 10 appeared on nationwide media and, with the help of lawyers and activists outside, were instrumental in turning the tide against the death penalty in Illinois. Kitchen was finally exonerated in 2013 and filed a high profile lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department, Jon Burge, Mayor Richard Daley, and the Cook County state's attorney. Largely absent from the current social justice narratives are the testimonies of the victims themselves. Kitchen is a survivor who has turned his suffering into a powerful public cause. The atrocities of the Midnight Crew have been brought to light through Kitchen's work and are now part of the discussion as the nation engages in an unprecedented conversation about racism.

Reviews

"Ronald Kitchen's story is scalding, emotional, and ultimately redemptive—a descent into hell with a happy ending. My Midnight Years should be read by all Americans, but especially those who still live in denial about police corruption and institutional racism. Read this book, then pass it on to a friend, neighbor, sibling, or coworker; it will open eyes and raise the ire of anyone who cares about criminal justice in the United States."—T. J. ENGLISH, author of The Savage City, The Corporation, and Havana Nocturne

"Decades of police torture and prosecutorial complicity devastated black Chicago and filled Illinois's prisons. In this moving memoir, Ronald Kitchen chronicles what that violence meant for him, his family, and so many others. . . . Don't miss this harrowing, heartbreaking tale of injustice, survival, and resistance." —DAN BERGER, author of Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era

"Ronald Kitchen not only survived his prison ordeal but describes his experience in moving detail; he has emerged as a strong spokesman against the atrocities of Jon Burge and his Midnight Crew." —JEFFREY HAAS, author of The Assassination of Fred Hampton

"Ronald Kitchen's memoir of surviving and resisting racist police torture and thirteen years on death row is maddening and moving. It's hard to read and hard to put down. . . . The full rot of the criminal injustice system is on display here, but Ronnie's stark prose makes us also see the courage and resilience of those on the inside." —MARTHA BIONDI, author of The Black Revolution on Campus and To Stand and Fight

Author Biography

Ronald Kitchen was tortured into a false confession and spent two decades in prison. He cofounded the Death Row 10 to fight his conviction and was exonerated in 2009. Thai Jones  is the author of More Powerful than Dynamite and A Radical Line. Logan McBride specializes in US prison history and has been following the Chicago police scandal for 15 years.