In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was sentenced to death in Alabama for the murder and robbery of two men.
He was 29 years old and sure this was all a case of mistaken identity that would quickly be cleared up.
But instead, he ended up spending nearly 30 years on death row for crimes he did not commit.
While on death row, Hinton became close friends with former Klansman Henry Hays, who was convicted of lynching a young black boy in Alabama. Henry was raised by a white supremacist father and basically learned to hate blacks from an early age.
“Henry was born Henry Francis Hayes, not “KKK Henry Francis Hayes.” I explained that from the time he was conceived, he was taught to hate. . .What I find joy in is the fact that for 15 years, Henry was taught to hate, but once Henry came to death row, the very people that he was taught to hate taught him love and compassion. Henry changed and I saw the change.”Anthony Ray Hinton, The Intercept, January 2018
Since his release, Ray Hinton has devoted his life to speaking about prison reform as well as the power of faith and forgiveness.
Although it did not change my view on the death penalty, this book definitely makes me angry about a justice system that works one way for those who have money and power and a very different way for those who are poor and powerless.
The Sun Does Shine is an excellent, inspirational story. I highly recommend it.