tv Anthony Ray Hinton The Sun Does Shine CSPAN May 31, 2018 12:49am-1:56am EDT
unthinkable position. >> but montgomery alabama mr. stevenson but the appeal that he is even in this building and not that one. that case that he spent the last 30 years. but before we meet these two alabama heroes we have a short five minute video that does a much better job to explain what you will see here.
but then we will take time out for a commercial so every book here is signed as soon as the presentation is over we will have signed copies of his book and also signed first editions of his books. >> for 30 years he was subjecte subjected. >> 58 years old spending more than half of his life inside a correctional. facility now today he experiences things for the first time in decades. >> oh my goodness.
[applause] >> he iss welcomed home that was the equal justice initiative so just to say you got an innocent man off of death row. >> while reagan was president to restaurant managers were shot dead closing time another man help to identify hinton as the shooter. >> you are a free man now. >> it is taken away from you you cannot put a price tag on that.
to deathntenced ordered to spend the remainder of his life in prison living in a five by seven cell. >> i would sleep in the fetal position because my feet would hang over. they took my 30s in my 40s and 50s that they could not take my joy. i couldn't control the years but i could control my joy. >> he languished for years before his case reached the
appeal. >> i was never so convinced of somebody's innocence. >> one of the appellate court judges believed his story. >> no committing evidence no fingerprints it was unusual that the appeal was denied. >> finally supreme court intervenedte finally the break he was waiting for just a few weeks ago the state of alabama dropped the case after looking at the evidence matching the bullets to the gun and he was released i was locked up 30 years. >> bitterness kills the soul i
tonight's' just like this so i'm excited to be here with him he has an amazing story and an amazing book we want to share with the entireo world. there are important questions that i think both of us want you to take on how we got to a place where a book like his that is what we have to learn or have to deal with. and these questions we grapple with but they have to do with who we are and how we got here and how theyou confronted when a country has that like ours had if we don't talk about it or what happens when we are a slave society allowing people to be enslaved so what happened with the society like
ours to allow them to be slaughtered by the millions but we don't talk about it to do the things you're supposed to do and post society but when we create the ideology of white supremacy. black people are different but what happens is you create an environment where the anthony hinton cases possible will be don't talk about ending racial inequality we talk about slavery but what happens over decades they are burned and hanged and tortured. so what happens with get
comfortable seeing black and brown people mistreated in this way and don't deal with it? what happens when we live in a excepts hierarchy to say black people can go to school withha white people that we get comfortable but that create an environment where the conviction of anthony hinton as a possible rather than seeing racial bias what happens when you live in a time as now or if there is a presumption of innocence of guilt because of black and brown people but that happens when you don't care about the poor or those living to be the federal poverty level. so criminal justice treats you
better when you are guilty than when you are innocent. what happens you go to trial you don't have the expert to prove your innocence. you have the conviction of anthony hinton or when we allow our judges to be elected we create people who are decision-makerss. happens when we have prosecutor prosecutors?
but this means there is work for us to do. to spend every day since he has been released talking to people about the work that has to be done i am persuaded no other country will have a greater role than this man. so while terrible things happen because of that legacy of slavery or confronted america because of mass incarceration other wonderful things are happening and that is what this book is about. about the pain and agony of injustice but also the triumph of another human being. there are questions that we need to grapple with like what
happens when races attacked? race prevails but when truth and faith are assaulted with those systems so truth and faith prevail. what happens in love and mercy prevail? what happens when a beautiful man with a big heart and a brilliant mind and a rare soul is condoned to death row? but then he survives. because of the extraordinary story and then to commit her selves for more just as the person for reform. i am privileged to be here tonight but first first he is
brother to me and i will fight for him and protect him like family. second he is my friend because we connected a long time before we could enjoy his freedom and lastly he is myy client that i care deeply about i we use the resources to protect but tonight he is my hero to tell a story that i believe change the nation to place of greater justice and fairness and understanding and it is with such honor and a thrill and excitement i am pleased to share the stage with the one and only, the beautiful anthony hinton. [applause]
knows he has been judged simply because this black man was brought into the world because i had someone to teach me love. when you read this book, when you read the forward you will read about my mother and then taught me about love. but i understand now why she didn't. because love got me through it. and then with compassion.
but believe me when i tell you that i have a mother who had all of the advice in the world. to teach me about forgiveness. this is one of the hardest thingst we know we are wrong but it is something that is inside of us that does not allow us to say. ladies and gentlemen it took me three long years to forgive those that did this to me. i guess i got on the forgiveness trip of those that did this too me. i also had to learn how to forgive.
i don't understand why it is so hard to forgive one another we don't have to like onewe another but we must forgive.y i don't know how you do it but people say i don't think i could do it and i say i'm glad i don't go to your church. [laughter] because forgiveness it is what makes me get up every morning with a smile and forgiveness is what i do with a smile. and to be better off than what got you into this world.
how is it that man or woman think that they have the power to condemn someone to die? believe it is a man or woman that is condemned, but in this book i challenge you will -- challenge to the last chapter to call out to say guilty i asked people because my name was on their lips do you know what it takes deep down in your soul to forgive people that you know wrong do you only because the color of your skin?
also with outrages we show as a society that if it doesn't affect us we don't care. not in mybo backyard. so the people like the millions that has several reasons but then nobody cared about it. but now all of a sudden now they declare that opm that they have just found many to combat this problem. so i say this because that set
knowledge. as a new sentence him to death say the world would be better off if he was not in it. so he never had a chance. and by what he was instructed to do, and once he did that now the solution is less but then when hades came but then he is a guest and i told them my name i said i would want to ask a question why do you hate
me? he said black and i said i didn't ask you anything about blacks i asked you why you hateat me so i need to know. i said i would be back tomorrow again and i will be back every day finally he said i don't you i don't know. asking if i could talk to him one hour per day and then over the years i also tell him that death row is the only place i have never experienced racism. it was all because he said the same thing.
long -- but we're all all trying to achieve the same thing. and that is to prove our innocence but and that i need to show what loving compassion was. fifteen years was spent because i had mistreated him for 15 years and treated him that where you wonder what it is about death that makes us begin to treat one another like human beings. over 14 years for the
but even to say mr. anthony hinton we are sorry but it is okay and i smile every day.ve i am thankful every day 30 years i went to bed and woke up with a death sentence hanging over my door. put there by the state of alabama. one day with all of the sadness a i heard a grown man, chosen actually and for some reason it triggers something inside of me and i began to laugh again.
that is what got me through the dark side. even to the guards. i have seen the work and i have seen what communication can do when used in the right way. every day somebody would say i don't evenen understand how you can laugh after what has been done to you. i look at the person and i say the best practice for me is to forgive. but to go to prison for something he did not do and
all a my life that i have to do is trust him and believe in him. but it is hard to believe but i just sit there. then i heard another man laugh and i woke up. and i decided that i would take my life back. i decided the state of alabama could take my future or whatever they want. but they not take my joy.
time we go to prison but we care more of the system that the system cared about my case than the color of my skin. if we had a system that already a judge doesn't like the color of your skin. i don't know how many smart people wee have but with the stock market if you ever find yourself in trouble two things you have got to do it do it quick. you better pray right quick and you call him. [laughter] [applause]
>> and there is his number. [laughter] that is the only number that is embedded in my head in for 30 years that was my hope and my life. i try to write this book not trying to change anyone america will not change as i believe once we are change we are change foron life we change our minds so life has taught me that all of us need somebody to lean on or to have compassionon in what we already
know. also we need to know what love is. this book through the eyes of my mother show what real love was like because my mother didn't have anything and loved me unconditionally. when that is made me the man that i am today and that is why once i got over that madness anddn a anger and hatre, i could sit down to spread joy on death row. sometimes we look at people and judge them but we don't know their story and we get it wrong most of the time. i just think that it is time how many need to be exonerated
i truly believe god will not put you into anything he cannot bring you out of. t and when i prayed says send a good lawyer. m jesus, i need you jesus. do you hear me jesus? [laughter] listening jesus? i need your best. and i wrote this man in the moment and shook his hand i had no doubt that jesus had sent me his best. and now not only did he get me out another people out works on juveniles sentenced to life if you don't have anything to do read the work that they do
>> so i want evil to read about the details ofab what happens and to hear your voice come to the book but for kids to talk about, you talk about the moment that. of going to court in that moment when you are charged with capital murder everything is happening, i know that you believed at some point this would all be resolved. so what was the moment when you actually realized weight they can convict me for something i did not do?
>> the detective had told me but number one you are black. number two a white man will say that you shot him. believe me i don't care he shot him or not, number three a white prosecutor and a white judge and the all-white jury. do you know what that spells? he repeated the word conviction. conviction. conviction but then as i go to
trial and then to see those that don't care about justice and he looks at me to say i did not go to law school to do pro bono work. and i said wouldn't make a difference to fight told you i was innocent? he said the problem with that statement everybody does something and say they didn'tnt do it. so as i go to trial i realized the prosecution is not about your case.
the day would include redemption. that they will find me guilty. and that is what they did. >> you talk in the book about going to death row and not talking for three years. i know how knowing you that must've put you in a really dark place. >> i know she cannot believe that i really did not want to see anyone or hear anyone and
i always told you i would be truthful to you about this case. i didn't want to escape to be on the run and then to share with us and i said i truly believe as they come to talk to me but he saw i was so full of hate that he could not talk to me he said when you get over this hatred and get out of the bitterness i will come back and tell you my plan.
created not only a community and you talked to the leader of the clayton wong -- of the kkk and that when i would come to see you i couldn't go from a card to the parking lot without being stopped by four officers.. also to be committed and i used to think it must be so hard to maintain all these relationships that i felt it
>> the mother was tossed that she was fair. when i went to death row, something inside of me changed. you mean it be who you want to be but be the person who makes people laugh or feel comfortabl comfortable. love has no boundaries. and then time will tell. and by saying that i would talk to the guards they still had problems as well even thoughghms they went home. they need somebody to talky to.
it was a do have a moment? i say depends what you brought and they say a slice of red velvet i say come on in. [laughter] some of you are innocent some of you are guilty but it doesn't a matter we have rules to go by i came from a house that had rules so we will respect the rules here but we will try. our best to get the warden to make it as easy as possible and i asked him to trust me that i would try to use the love that i have in a way we could all benefit.
i go into his office said what do you want? i said i have a proposition for you. i would like to start a book club. >> a book club? [laughter] he said a real book club that you read out of? [laughter] i said yes warden. where are you going to get the books from? i said i am hoping you will allow us to go to the library once they start coming in. >> what's in it for you?
>> i said to teach young guys there is a whole world out there we cannot get back into that world so let it come to us i can read about california i don't have to go to d california. i can imagine in my mind. i can imagine england in my mind i artie told him what it was like i didn't see it i just imagined it. so books open your mind. and i realized that these people that are locked up on death row. but they didn't have anyone to
push them i would go through and talk to them to say what brought you here? i don't know my father. the mother tried to reason that she couldn't. i joined a gang thinking they would love me but i found out that was false. but it makes you feel sad i was privileged enough to have a mother who made me go to school or you feeling better? you could not just be sick she was getting you ready for tomorrow. [laughter] so we missed out on that opportunity to introduce people to books the wardens
that i will only allow you six and i said i will take six. i had somebody send in the book by james baldwin. i read and he sent it to the next guy now everybody had a different opiate in what the message was about the book i said what did you like everybody had a reason. and i just believe that books are so important to open your mind and expand your mind where youit can grow. >> i think your book will do that for a lot of people. you have a very ambitious book
tour new york city, atlanta, washington separate cisco and i think we are all excited for you because of that i want you to get some sleep tonight. but one more question. it seems like it took them forever to get to the point to say you can go we were waiting and waiting. but even then i was thinking what are they going to come up g with now to keep you from coming home. your family was there and it was so glorious and beautiful and precious and he has a nice
cadillac escalade a nice chariot for this moment. [laughter] and i know you said you wanted to go to your mother's grave that maybe you had to confront how different the world had becomend can you share with that? >> i got cheated out of saying farewell to my mother. but i think he was thinking and wanted to go get something to eat and i said take me to where they laid my mother's body. he said okay and i buckled up i think he's trying to find a radio station little did i know he was putting in the
so my lines as i know nobody got in here but me. [laughter] he is dying laughing finally he pulled over to the shoulder and said it is gps anywhere to go put in the address it shows you how to get there. you'd have to stop at the filling station anymore? he said no. and then he said she's in there said how did she get in there? but modern technology passed me by.
i have to have people show me how to erase stuff on my phone but then it has given me the excuse to learn how to work on a computer what about those stamps nobody did anything with? >> but modern technology surprised me in a way i never thought that was happening and then i found out you could e-mail and take pictures and it is just amazing the mindset to create things. >> the world changed a lot during the 30 years you were on death row.
but i think the world will change more because of you and because of what he will say and do. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> on behalf of the historic federal reserve building, thank you for coming tonight we hope everybody had a good time and gets the message if you like a signed copy they have them right over there.
role of storytelling. so the idea that there is that there is a triangle you must learn to do this to be a fiction writer it is necessary but it will not make you a great writer but then you sit down with faulkner and everybody actually they all could do it. it has nothing about learning to do those things but creativity.