Common Book

‌Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson

A partnership of the Dean of the College and the Student Life Office

As co-chairs for the Common Book Committee, we are writing to share the news with you about the book selection for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

The book we will read together is Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. Mr. Stevenson is an attorney who, as the book jacket notes, has “won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the U.S. Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color.”  He is also the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University School of Law.

We will read it as a point of entry into the liberal arts experience and consider how this narrative about “the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice”  invites us all to wrestle with big questions of contemporary social significance, including race, poverty, and the system of justice in this country.

The content of this book will be incorporated into Orientation as well as other campus-wide events. There will be several other opportunities to join in dialogues or reading groups for this book. In addition to the events on campus, new students must complete a response to Just Mercy on your Applicant Status Page using the Summer Reading Assignment checklist item by July 31. Your submissions will be shared with your academic advisor.

The book is in stock at the University Supply Store and available at online booksellers. You can also try your local library. If you have difficulty obtaining the book, please contact Bobby Silk directly at

We are counting down the days until your arrival to campus!

Yea, Sewanee's right!

Betsy Sandlin, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Dean
Office of the Dean of the College
Bobby Silk, M.A.
Assistant Director of Residential Life
Office of the Dean of Students