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SAMANTHA LATSON

Freelance Journalist

Samantha Latson is a M.S. Journalism student at Indiana University. She is a reporter for the Arnolt Center of Investigative Journalism. She is also a freelance writer. Her work has been published in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Crusader. She was also a reporter-writer for the Unforgotten 51 project that examined the mostly unsolved cases of 51 mostly African American women murdered in Chicago since 2001, and believed to be the work of a serial killer. 


 

UNFORGOTTEN PROJECT FEATURED ON WGN NEWS & NABJ 2021 COLLEGIATE SALUTE TO EXCELLENCE WINNER

 
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Journalist

Welcome to my personal website and blog, with articles geared towards investigative reporting and social justice stories

 
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INVASION OF FAITH

Faith V. Violence: A Chicago Story

 
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PORTFOLIO OF ARTICLES & PICTURES

By Samantha Latson

 

CHICAGOANS MARCHING UNITED IN PROTEST OVER MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD

By Samantha Latson
Chicago Crusader
June 6, 2020

Loud cries and chants filled downtown Chicago streets, voices of a new generation lifting toward the skyscrapers in this town where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once marched for freedom and equality, which for African Americans nationwide remains an American dream.

“Say their names,” protestors chanted. “Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery…”

READ the entire story

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I CARRIED A PICTURE OF A CLASSMATE IN MY HEART AS I RODE A BUS TO A WASHINGTON RALLY AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE

By Samantha Latson
Chicago Sun-Times
Published October 10, 2019

As the caravan of buses pulled away from 78th Street, I felt a sense of unity in Chicago. As we passed South Side corners, heading to the Dan Ryan Expressway, car horns honked in solidarity with our overnight journey. 

I am 20 years old and a student journalist. I was on the bus so as to gain hands-on experience covering a national event: the National Rally to End Gun Violence in Washington, on Sept. 25. 

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TEARS & REFLECTIONS IN A YEAR OF TELLING “THEIR” STORY

By Samantha Latson
Unforgotten: The Untold Story of Murdered Chicago Women
December 30, 2020

“Nobody cares, nobody gives a damn…” It was a weeping voice filled with frustration and anguish. I looked at the face of a black man crying in front of his students. A man not worried about pride or embarrassment, but worried about the 51 lives who are so often left forgotten. 

I looked at the screen of my classmates, white faces who don’t resemble mine, yet my skin, my body and my face are on the frontline.

READ the entire story

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 GWENDOLYN WILLIAMS AND OTHER MURDERED WOMEN WHOSE LIVES MATTERED

By John W. Fountain and Samantha Latson
Unforgotten: The Untold Story of Murdered Chicago Women
January 9, 2021

Gwendolyn Williams was a protector, a loyal big sister with a “heart of gold,” true-blue. She was Rosa Mae Pritchett’s firstborn. No matter how old she got, Gwen was always her baby girl. 

Gwen’s sturdy light-caramel arms could cradle a younger sibling and also hold danger at bay. She was strong, a lover, not a fighter — unless she had to be. Gwen knew the streets. Growing up in Chicago in the sixties and seventies had taught her that her little sisters and brothers needed a guardian angel.

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COPING WITH LOSS: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF

By Samantha Latson
Unforgotten: The Untold Story of Murdered Chicago Women
December 30, 2020

It was a warm September day in 2019, and almost the end of summer. It was supposed to be a celebration of life for 12-year-old Kentayvia Blackful who was turning 13 on the morning after. But for her parents Kentnilla, 34, and Trenton Blackful, 34, who were planning for their daughter’s birthday party, a stray bullet that struck Kentayvia in the head altered those plans and forever changed their lives. Kentayvia died the following day on Sept. 25, her birthday, having succumbed to her injuries a day after being shot. 

READ the entire story 

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"YOU'RE DEAD: SO WHAT?"; AUTHOR SAYS TELLING THEIR STORIES MATTERS

By Samantha Latson
Unforgotten: The Untold Story of Murdered Chicago Women
December 30,2020

Cheryl Neely can remember just like it was yesterday, laughing and talking while riding the Grandriver Avenue bus with her childhood fro iend Michelle Jackson and her own two sisters, while leaving Murray-Wright High School in Detroit. Seeing Michelle was part of her daily routine. After school Cheryl, Neely’s sisters and Michelle would all meet at the bus stop to go home. 


On Tuesday, Jan. 24, 1984, the lives of Neely, and her sisters Suane and Cassandra would change forever. That was the date that Michelle, 16, was murdered and raped while on her way to school. 

READ the entire story 

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‘WHEN WILL THE REVOLUTION COME FOR MY PEOPLE FROM WITHIN?’

By Samantha Latson

Chicago Sun-Times

May 3, 2021

It is so disheartening to wake up to the news that yet another Black child has been murdered — not at the hand of a white policeman, but by a hand that looks like mine.

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CHICAGO PRIEST PFLEGER REINSTATED; ‘IT’S GOOD TO BE HOME’

June 23, 2021

“We’ve saved the whales, we’ve saved the birds, but our children are becoming extinct. We must save our children!”

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'WE WALK FOR HER'; MARCH BRINGS LIGHT TO MISSING AND MURDERED BLACK WOMEN

July 3, 2021

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WE WALK FOR HER

By Samantha Latson

Chicago Crusader

July 13, 2021

I too am a young Black woman. Will “we” keep me safe?

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       DANVILLE COMMUNITY MOURNS AS JELANI DAY TAKES FINAL JOURNEY AT ALMA MATER

                                    October 20, 2021

            Hundreds of mourners filed through the hallway of Danville High School, taking a journey filled with photos of the life of Jelani Day.

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         TEARS FOR JELANI; TEARS FOR ME

                                     October 14, 2021

                 Like so many of us who attend predominantly white academic institutions in mostly white towns, Jelani and his case caused, for me, ripples of concerns about my own safety. And the absence of answers about what happened to Jelani triggers within me a million questions, some of them formulated by the context of my own traumatic DNA.

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