White Lies On the morning of August 21, 1991, a group of Cuban detainees took over a federal prison in Talladega, Alabama, and demanded their freedom. But how did they get here? And what became of them after? In season two of NPR's Pulitzer-finalist show, we unspool a decades-long story about immigration, indefinite detention, and a secret list. It's a story about a betrayal at the heart of our country's ideals. And in charting a course to our current moment of crisis at the border, we expose the lies that bind us together.

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White Lies

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On the morning of August 21, 1991, a group of Cuban detainees took over a federal prison in Talladega, Alabama, and demanded their freedom. But how did they get here? And what became of them after? In season two of NPR's Pulitzer-finalist show, we unspool a decades-long story about immigration, indefinite detention, and a secret list. It's a story about a betrayal at the heart of our country's ideals. And in charting a course to our current moment of crisis at the border, we expose the lies that bind us together.

Support in-depth storytelling that matters by subscribing to Embedded+ and unlock early access to new episodes and sponsor-free listening. Learn more at plus.npr.org/embedded

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Cuban detainees stand on the roof of the Federal Correctional Institution in Talladega, Als., after a take over of the prison in 1991. Joe Songer/Birmingham News/Donated by Alabama Media Group/Alabama Department of Archives and History hide caption

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Joe Songer/Birmingham News/Donated by Alabama Media Group/Alabama Department of Archives and History

The Men on the Roof

It all started with a photograph. A photograph from 1991 of a prison takeover in rural Alabama. A photograph of a group of men on the roof of that prison holding a bedsheet scrawled with a message: "Pray for us." In the first episode of the new season of White Lies, hosts Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace go searching for answers to the questions raised by this photograph. Who were these men? What on earth had made them want to take over that prison? And what became of them after? As they search, they uncover a sprawling story: a mass exodus across the sea, a secret list, and the betrayal at the heart of this country's ideals. Want to hear the next episode of White Lies a week before everyone else? Sign up for Embedded+ at plus.npr.org/embedded.

The Men on the Roof

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Season 2: Trailer

In 1991, a group of men took over a federal prison in rural Alabama. But these men weren't prisoners, they were immigration detainees, all of them from Cuba. And none of them were serving time for a sentence; they were being indefinitely detained. Who were these men? What in the world had brought them from Cuba to a prison in rural Alabama, and what became of them afterward? On the new season of White Lies, hosts Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace set out to find the men who took over the prison and, in the process, unspool a sprawling story of a mass exodus across the sea, back-channel cold war communiques, family separation, and a secret list.

Season 2: Trailer

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The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., was the scene of the confrontation that became known as Bloody Sunday. William Widmer for NPR hide caption

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William Widmer for NPR

A Dangerous Kind Of Self-Delusion

In our final episode, we examine the legacy of the Rev. James Reeb's death. We speak both to his descendants and to those of one of his attackers, exploring how the trauma and the lies that followed it affected both families.

A Dangerous Kind Of Self-Delusion

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A car passes by the vacant lot in modern-day Selma where the Silver Moon Cafe stood in 1965. The attack on the Rev. James Reeb occurred just outside the cafe. William Widmer for NPR hide caption

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William Widmer for NPR

Learn Not To Hear It

In Episode 6, we reveal the identity of the fourth man who participated in the attack on the Rev. James Reeb.

Learn Not To Hear It

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Pallbearers carry the casket of Jimmie Lee Jackson into a church in Marion, Ala., where a sign reads "Racism killed our brother." Bettmann/Getty Images hide caption

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The X On The Map

In Episode 5, we search for the fourth attacker while digging into the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a black civil rights activist who was murdered in Alabama just weeks before the Rev. James Reeb. Jackson's killer was brought to justice in 2010. We look at his case for strategies to help solve Reeb's.

The X On The Map

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Frances Bowden stands in front of Selma Bail Bonds. Chip Brantley/NPR hide caption

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Chip Brantley/NPR

The Sphinx Of Washington Street

In Episode 4, we find a woman who says she knows who killed the Rev. James Reeb, because she was there. She's ready — for the first time in more than 50 years — to tell the truth about what she saw.

The Sphinx Of Washington Street

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Doctors care for the Rev. James Reeb in a Birmingham, Ala., hospital after he was attacked in Selma on March 9, 1965. Bettmann/Getty Images hide caption

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The Counternarrative

In Episode 3, we break down the conspiracy theory that emerged after the Rev. James Reeb's murder: that he was allowed to die or was killed because the civil rights movement needed a white martyr.

The Counternarrative

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In court on Dec. 9, 1965, William Stanley Hoggle (from far left), Namon O'Neal Hoggle and Elmer Cook review a street diagram showing where the attack on the Rev. James Reeb occurred in Selma, Ala. The three men were standing trial for the murder of Reeb; all were acquitted. Horace Cort/AP hide caption

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Horace Cort/AP

The Who And The What

In Episode 2, we unravel the aftermath of the Rev. James Reeb's murder: the arrest of three men and the defense brought at trial. We also track down the last living jurors.

The Who And The What

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Elmer Cook, William Stanley Hoggle and Namon "Duck" Hoggle (from left to right) were charged with first-degree murder after James Reeb's death and later acquitted at trial. TopFoto/The Image Works hide caption

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TopFoto/The Image Works

The Murder Of The Rev. James Reeb

In 1965, the Rev. James Reeb was murdered in Selma, Ala. No one was ever held to account. We return to the town where it happened, searching for new leads in an old story.

The Murder Of The Rev. James Reeb

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Introducing White Lies

A new serialized podcast from NPR investigates a 1965 cold case. New episodes every Tuesday starting May 14.

Introducing White Lies

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