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Katie McCabe

Washington writer Katie McCabe, the co-author, with Dovey Johnson Roundtree, of Mighty Justice, is a nationally recognized non-fiction writer whose work on unsung heroes, many of them in the African American community, has garnered wide attention, both in print and in film.  Her National Magazine Award-winning Washingtonian article on black cardiac surgery pioneer Vivien Thomas, "Like Something the Lord Made," formed the basis for the 2004 Emmy and 2005 Peabody Award winning HBO film "Something the Lord Made," on which McCabe consulted.  The film was one of the highest rated original movies in HBO history.  The American Film Institute, which named "Something the Lord Made"  the Best TV Movie of 2004, called it "a revelation…a bittersweet story that is an important tool for America as it continues to search for a public vocabulary to discuss issue of race."

 

That search has defined a large part of McCabe's work, bringing her, in 1995, to take on the story of the late civil rights lawyer Dovey Roundtree, initially in a Washingtonian piece that won McCabe the 2004 Dateline Award. The book Mighty Justice (originally published in 2009 with the title Justice Older than the Law) is the product of a 15-year collaboration between McCabe and Roundtree which began in Washington, DC shortly before Roundtree's retirement to Charlotte, NC in 1996 and survived the obstacles of distance, of Roundtree's blindness, and of her failing health.  The book won the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians, which called it "an amazing story that humanizes the raw emotions of thousands of early twentieth century achievers…living the dreams of the entire African American community."  New York Times bestselling novelist Patricia O'Brien noted the immersive, intimate quality of the writing.  "McCabe's narrative skills," O'Brien wrote, "pull one in as seductively as a novel."