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On Sonny Liston, Lennon Lacy & Confederate Monuments

CoastLine: Shaun Assael On Sonny Liston, Lennon Lacy, And Confederate Monuments

By RACHEL LEWIS HILBURN & RACHEL KEITH  JAN 2, 2020

CoastLine

Sonny Liston, heavyweight boxing champion in the early 1960s,  died near the beginning of 1971.  The reason listed on the death certificate:  natural causes.  But nearly 50 years later, the question of whether he was murdered is an open one for some.  It’s a question Shaun Assael set out to answer with his book, The Murder of Sonny Liston:   Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights. 

Lennon Lacy, a 17-year-old West Bladen High School football player was found dead, hanging by belts from a swing set four years ago.  Local authorities determined Lacy’s death a suicide.  But family members and the NAACP alleged it was murder in the style of a lynching.  Shaun Assael set out to investigate the story.  Two years after Lacy’s death, the U.S. Justice Department issued its own determination – affirming the conclusion of local officials. 

Just last month, Glamour Magazine published a story entitled, The Secret Fight to Save Confederate Monuments.  The byline:  Shaun Assael.  There are a few threads here with which one could weave a theme, but we’ll leave that bit of business to Shaun Assael himself, award-winning investigative journalist, reporter for ESPN for 20 years, author of four books, and a man who describes his instincts as always leading to crime and politics, despite his twenty years in the investigations unit at ESPN.

Read more at Coastline

Listen:

Listen: Ring Tones

Episode 2: Award-winning author, journalist and investigator Shaun Assael joins the pod to discuss “Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston,” a documentary developed from his book “The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin and Heavyweights.” Immerse yourself in latter-day Las Vegas, learn how the infamous heavyweight champ shuttled between two worlds and delve into the craft of storytelling.

Ring Tones

Awards

What a wonderful way to end the summer.

On August 15, The National Association of Black Journalists recognized me and my good friend, Jean-Jacques Taylor, for our story about the misunderstood signs of mental illness, Broken Route, The category was specialty reporting in a magazine with a circulation of more than one million.

And last weekend, the Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference made The Murder of Sonny Liston a two time award-winner. It won for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year and as a Reader’s Choice  award winner. Thank you to everyone at Killer Nashville, especially the wonderfous Clay Stafford. It was a blast.