ANDREW BECK GRACE, HOST:
What if you found out that a story you believed so strongly - something you and the people around you had staked your lives on - what if you found out that that story was a lie?
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
CHIP BRANTLEY, HOST:
This is a story about a murder that happened in 1965.
(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: The man was hit last night over his head because a bad situation has developed and created a lot of hate in the white community.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: And there's one man dead and one man dying, and that's enough to pay for a voting bill.
BRANTLEY: It's about the lies that kept this murder from being solved and about the small southern city where it all happened.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Well, the whole damn town knew.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: I didn't discuss it with nobody, honey. After it happened, I kept my mouth shut.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: I don't remember nothing. I don't want to remember nothing. Hell, when you get bad stuff, you leave it alone or learn not to hear it.
GRACE: A moment in our history when so much was at stake.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: What do you do if they get attacked? Violence is American as apple pie.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: They knew back in those days it could come back to haunt them. Statute of limitations on murder never runs out.
GRACE: How it took the murder of a white man to spark national outrage.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #8: We died out of proportion to numbers. Of course we're bitter because it still means that our life is not worth even in death the life of anybody else, that their life is still more precious.
BRANTLEY: And this story is about what happened when we returned to the same city some 50 years later, and we're reminded that, in the South, there are no simple questions about the past.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #9: Like a tree with branches, if you cut off one branch, don't mean the damn tree going to die; it's just going to grow another branch. We need to find the root of all this.
GRACE: When the two of us, white Southerners of a younger generation, set out to call a lie a lie and finally solve this murder.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #10: But you notice, every layer of the onion, there's something a little wackier than the first layer underneath. And you ain't - what? - halfway through the onion yet?
GRACE: I'm Andrew Beck Grace.
BRANTLEY: And I'm Chip Brantley. Coming Tuesday, May 14, from NPR - WHITE LIES.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.