Jennifer Berry Hawes


Jennifer Berry Hawes is a reporter with ProPublica’s South hub who focuses on criminal justice, religion, race and the welfare of women and children.

Prior to ProPublica, Hawes worked at The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, most recently as a watchdog and public service reporter. She was part of the team that won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for public service for the series “Till Death Do Us Part,” which examined South Carolina’s failure to protect women from often-fatal domestic abuse. Hawes also was a 2019 Pulitzer finalist for feature writing, along with fellow reporter Deanna Pan, for their series “An Undying Mystery” about the youngest person ever executed in South Carolina. Hawes has written on topics ranging from persistent failures in public education to prison violence to racial injustice.

Hawes reported extensively on the Emanuel AME Church mass shooting in 2015, in which nine people were killed during Bible study at one of the country’s oldest Black churches. Her 2019 book stemming from that reporting, “Grace Will Lead Us Home,” won the Christopher Award and Audie Award for nonfiction and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

Hawes is based in South Carolina.

Segregation Academies Still Operate Across the South. One Town Grapples With Its Divided Schools.

Seventy years after Brown v. Board, Black and white residents, in Camden, Alabama, say they would like to see their children schooled together. But after so long apart, they aren’t sure how to make it happen.

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How Many of Your State’s Lawmakers Are Women? If You Live in the Southeast, It Could Be Just 1 in 5.

A record number of women were elected to statehouses last year. But in the Southeast, where some legislatures are more than 80% male, representation is lagging as lawmakers pass bills that most impact women, like near-total abortion bans.

A Racist Harvard Scientist Commissioned Photos of Enslaved People. One Possible Descendant Wants to Reclaim Their Story.

The images are among the oldest known photographs of enslaved people in America. Tamara Lanier’s fight to gain control of them shows there is no clear system in place to repatriate remains of captive Africans or objects associated with them.

Activists Have Long Called for Charleston to Confront Its Racial History. Tourists Are Now Expecting It.

Surging interest from visitors is contributing to a more honest telling of the city’s role in the American slave trade. But tensions are flaring as South Carolina lawmakers restrict race-based teachings.

How a Grad Student Uncovered the Largest Known Slave Auction in the U.S.

Lauren Davila made a stunning discovery as a graduate student at the College of Charleston: an ad for a slave auction larger than any historian had yet identified. The find yields a new understanding of the enormous harm of such a transaction.

How South Carolina Ended Up With an All-Male Supreme Court

An abortion ban struck down. The lone female justice retiring. And a majority-male legislature rallying behind the one male candidate to replace her. This is how South Carolina ended up with an all-male Supreme Court as new abortion legislation looms.

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