An urgent call to free those buried alive by America’s legal system, and an inspiring true story about unwavering belief in humanity — from a gifted young lawyer and important new voice in the movement to transform the system.
“An essential book for our time.... Brittany K. Barnett is a star.” (Van Jones, CEO of REFORM Alliance, CNN Host, and New York Times best-selling author)
Named One of The Best Books of the Year by Kirkus Reviews
Brittany K. Barnett was only a law student when she came across the case that would change her life forever — that of Sharanda Jones, single mother, business owner, and, like Brittany, Black daughter of the rural South. A victim of America’s devastating war on drugs, Sharanda had been torn away from her young daughter and was serving a life sentence without parole — for a first-time drug offense.
In Sharanda, Brittany saw haunting echoes of her own life, as the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother. As she studied this case, a system came into focus in which widespread racial injustice forms the core of America’s addiction to incarceration. Moved by Sharanda’s plight, Brittany set to work to gain her freedom.
This had never been the plan. Bright and ambitious, Brittany was a successful accountant on her way to a high-powered future in corporate law. But Sharanda’s case opened the door to a harrowing journey through the criminal justice system. By day, she moved billion-dollar deals, and by night, she worked pro bono to free clients in near hopeless legal battles. Ultimately, her path transformed her understanding of injustice in the courts, of genius languishing behind bars, and the very definition of freedom itself.
Brittany’s riveting memoir is at once a coming-of-age story and a powerful evocation of what it takes to bring hope and justice to a system built to resist them both.
"A Knock at Midnight is a book that is just right for this smoldering moment, a memoir that offers an irresistible invitation to examine the evolution and the impact of injustice in America.” (Michele Norris, contributing columnist at The Washington Post and founding director of The Race Card Project)
“A crusading lawyer battles unfair sentences meted out in the 'war on drugs' in this passionate memoir...An engrossing legal drama complete with wrenching reversals and redemptions, this account richly humanizes defendants while incisively analyzing deep flaws in America's justice system.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
“With a penetrating honesty, Brittany K. Barnett masterfully unlocks the mysterious doors of the prison system, revealing a long tradition of racial injustice and inequality. In the spirit of great films like Ava DuVernay’s 13th, A Knock at Midnight is both an educational tool and a call to action that will leave readers enlightened and inspired for years to come.” (Shaka Senghor, author of Writing My Wrongs)