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My Midnight Years cover art

My Midnight Years

By: Ronald Kitchen,Thai Jones,Logan M. McBride
Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
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Summary

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, labeled as a monster. Kitchen was only one of the many victims of Jon Burge and his notorious Midnight Crew that terrorized and incarcerated Black men - 118 have come forward so far - on the south side of Chicago for nearly two decades.

Not one to give up, Kitchen co-founded the Death Row 10 from his maximum security cell block. Together, these men fought to expose the grave injustices that led to their wrongful convictions. The Death Row 10 appeared on 60 Minutes II, Nightline, Oprah, and Geraldo Rivera 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.

Kitchen's story is outrageous and heartbreaking. Largely absent from the current social justice narratives are the testimonies of the victims themselves. Kitchen is a rare survivor who has turned his suffering into a public cause and is poised to become a powerful spokesperson. The atrocities of the Midnight Crew have been brought to light through Kitchen's actions and are now part of the discussion as the nation engages in an unprecedented conversation about racism.

©2018 Ronald Kitchen, Thai Jones, Logan M. McBride (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

“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)

What listeners say about My Midnight Years

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An eye opener

I found this story so eye opening. As a middle aged, white, British male, of course I’m aware of racism, but I never realised the extent of the struggles and how deep it ran into the police, and politicians, and society as a whole.

A truly engaging story from beginning to end.

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one of the best I have listened to

5 star book
5 start narrator
This is the first review I have made in over 6 years with audible. The book was so powerful and well written it was worthy of my first review... also, the narration was up there to.

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Sad story - Well written and narrated!

The story of Ronald Kitchen is a sad one, and unfortunately, there are other similar ones out there.

The book was well narrated and story well written and structured. It really projected the emotion of the bad situations.

If you are into True crime, emotionally evoking stories, or just an insight on what has gone on, without us common folk knowing, then, in my opinion, it's a must read. Highly recommended.

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Thought provoking

this is one of those stories which sound too incredible to be true. It is both heartbreaking and desperately sad.

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Honest and well written

After I listenerto this book I had to walk away and think about how I describe this book.. here goes.
this book is well written, honest and is humbling to read.
The way the book is written it caries you threw the nightmare existence and the miracle at the end.
This book shines a light on opresion front and centre showing inequality and barbaric treatment that so many non white people experience daily.

We can not say we live in an evolved world while such dreadful equality and flagrant abuses of the judicial system exist.
we as humanity are found wanting.
This book is a window into at area of Prison really talked about.
I found this story to be inspirational and it made me motivated to do more.
Good book, thought providing.
I hope Ronald Kitchen and
family have peace, they deserve it. love and blessings x in in

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one of the best books I have listened to so far

what can I say very powerful book to see that he never give up and always kept hope was amazing

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Powerful & Passionate

I have to say this telling of a mans trials and tribulations was delivered immaculately. Further to this the story as a whole unearthed not only what had happened but the far reaching implications of such behaviour and has completely changed my outlook on the state current and past proceedings. I am enraged by Ronald Kitchens experience and would not wish this on my worst enemy. It is reminiscent of the 19th & early 20th racism and shows that new ways of torture through a legitimised system are in place.
Thank you for sharing once again.

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  • Miked9746
  • 15-11-20

Awesome Book!!!

Great story and great narration!! Never heard of this story, but I'm glad I was able to now.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kitty Kat
  • 27-03-20

Great book

I thought this was a great read but was too short. I especially love the narrator's voice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • glenn browder
  • 05-08-18

Keeping the faith!

Loved this book! 1st hand look into the world of the broken american justice system.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Walter
  • 03-06-22

A story that I wish was unbelievable.

This was an amazing expose of the corrupt police in Chicago , I wish that it was fiction but unfortunately it is not. The research that went into this had to be a huge undertaking but the t’s were crossed and the i’s were all dotted correctly . It is my hope that this story helps to alleviate any future situation that may present itself but I hope with a bit of doubt. I can hope!

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  • C. W.
  • 02-06-22

Couldn’t Put It Down

I started following Wrongful Convictions Podcast with Jason Flom a few years ago. While browsing for an audio book to listen to on my morning walks, I came across this one. Even after my walk, I could not stop listening. I truly hate Ronnie and Marvin had to go through what they did but I pray they find peace as they live life as “free” men. It angers me that not much has changed within the judicial system. Thank you for sharing your story Mr. Kitchen.

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  • Lisa
  • 14-05-22

Excellent story and narrator

I want to hug this man. This book should be read in the classroom kids need to know what happens in the real, cruel world of racism

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-04-22

Eye-opening, heartbreaking...simply a must read !!

Highly recommended. the narrator brilliantly delivers in telling the author's story with true conviction and passion. Simply a must-read !!!

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  • Charles Bauknecht
  • 12-04-22

Unreal

As a Midwest white this book gripped my soul and made me embarrassed. All those corrupt police officers and politicians should be in jail…Very sad story that should have never happened.

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  • Tennessee D
  • 10-02-22

Eye opening

An inside look of police corruption on minorities and the devastation it leaves behind.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-01-22

This goes deep!

Most of us have heard of Burge - the top cop who tortured confessions out of many, many young people. This story, however, goes way deeper than what was in the news. The narration is excellent, with inflections and emotions, without being overly dramatic. This story is a heartbreaking call to action. I couldn’t put it down!