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Anthony Ray Hinton, Part 1: Freedom After 30 Years on Death Row

2018-06-11 | 🔗

Anthony Ray Hinton's memoir, "The Sun Does Shine," the latest selection for Oprah's Book Club, chronicles his ability to endure, survive and thrive. Oprah sits down with Anthony to talk about his transformative, gripping and emotional story of faith, forgiveness and redemption. Oprah says, "I've been listening to people's stories for most of my career, since I was 19 years old, and this is one of the most incredible stories I've ever heard." In 1985, 29-year-old Anthony was convicted of the brutal murders of two fast food workers in Birmingham, Alabama. Despite no eyewitnesses, no evidence against him and a solid alibi, he was found guilty and sentenced to death. For 30 years, he suffered in isolation and darkness on death row, serving time for crimes he did not commit. Somehow, Anthony found a way to hold on to hope, remain positive and inspire his fellow inmates.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I'm over Winfrey welcome to supersede conversations the podcast. I believe that one of the most valuable gives you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present your journey. To become more inspired and connected to the deeper the round. Us start right now in nineteen it five twenty nine year old, Anthony Re Hinton was arrested and charged with the brutal murders of too fast food rest workers in Birmingham Alabama, despite no eyewitnesses, no evidence against him and a solid alibi. Anthony hidden was tried by a white prosecutor, a white judge and in all white jury, found guilty and sentenced to death.
For thirty years, Anthony hidden suffered in isolation and darkness on death row. During that time he was forced to bear witness as fifty four men and one woman, walk right by his cell down the long haul way to their execution, but not even death row condemned the light inside Anthony Way hidden for nearly three a cage. He found a way to hang onto hope, stay, positive and even in fire, his fellow inmates, in the prison guards and then one fateful day, Anthony hidden met, criminal defence, Tourney Brian Stevenson. Stevenson and the equal justice initiative spent. Sixteen years working on MR hadn't case finally and twenty fourteen, the United States, in court unanimously overturned Anthony Way, Heavens conviction, spring morning in Alabama, after thirty years on death row, Anthony hidden walked out of the Jefferson County, jail, a free man,
Now his moving awe, inspiring memoir, the Sun does shine is my latest book club selection is a powerful lesson on faith forgiveness and redemption than I Believe will not only inspire, but also will wake a lot of people up to unjust circumstances that are happening every day in our country, so welcome to our podcast. Thanks I bet there was a time when you never thought you would be sitting here in my office or even seeing this and shine the way it is out here on this beautiful California day nor revision or when you ve been convicted of capital alone, especially in the South You don't have the money to afford an attorney. Just in your mind, just a man after just a matter of time, just a matter of time so you spent, I wonder, just how our audience here I've been listening to people stories for most of my career.
Since I was nineteen years all, and this is one of the most incredible stories I've ever heard he spent thirty years on death row for crimes? You did not commit it's it's real. Just you know. When I was reading your story, I was trying to picture myself holding the whole pulling on keeping the faith. I dont know if I could have done it. I just don't know if I could have done it. But you survived, and it's really an incredible story of faith and resilience and triumphant. I thought about Viktor Frankl annually in his book. Did he wrote when he was in the camps in Germany in call command search remaining, and I think You found a lot of meaning in those years, at the first, three years I went into this dog, and not realise at the time, but the dog home is would save me Thank you. I just want to tell people who aren't familiar
with the sun does shine. I hope you will. The book and read it. It's the reason why chosen. It is this summer's book club selection cause. I just think, every Person should read it. One of the review said in his intense memoir. Anyway, hidden recounted three decades nightmare awaiting execution, for crimes he didn't commit. Mr hidden here provide, convincing description of continued segregation and injustice in the deep south that cages the the class as effectively as prison walls, his depictions of prison life array, king after thirty years is dogged pursuit of justice led civil rights attorney Brian Stevenson to adopt his cause, MR hidden, freed from prison in twenty fifteen and now works as a motivational speaker. His life is one inspiration which he wonderful relays here, invitingly, honest prose. It's a before moving read. So congratulations thanks to show more getting this book.
And I love that you call it. The sun does shine issue because Those were your words when you outside for the first time after being held behind bars thirty years and everybody expecting you to say something here. He said the cylinder, Russia and therewith get there morning at exactly. The judge had ordered me to be released at nine hundred and thirty, and I had told MRS Boy will suit in Rome the sooner we change and I kept looking at the watch found it now. Thirdly, urges us to reward And it seems as though the sun was shining on the one, but me, and I looked out it was saved us. He was he was wearing a currency
and then, as I walk through the valley, but just until the song was following me and I got up to the podium when I said the sun does shine, because I have been in pure hell and darkness for all those years, and I don't think I can even put in that book up there you today what it's like to be on death row, something that you know ginger in new, put up with everything you have to put up with. Well, you know in every story, I think people try to gin themselves in that story or imagine themselves in a what would you do have done? And I remember years ago I was on trial in nineteen nineteen aid for saying something bad about a burger backup. I was on trial for six weeks in Texas and I remember thinking, today? What is the sentencing here was not just me,
me or a fine. I was found guilty by, but what if the sentencing was that I had would have to go to jail for something there. I knew I didn't do and I thought about first time in a real way all the people who are in jail for things they didn't do and how horrible that must be. I mean just it just would eat you up inside to know that justice was not served and now you're behind bars for it. So I want you to take us back actually to the day. You were moving your mother's, lawn and you're out their cutting grass for your mom cause. You were living at home with your mom. Yes, twenty nine years. Yes to this end, would you say your mama's boy could reassure D love your mama ion
the alone, although she is now you should always be in here. Yet in your heart, oh yes, there's no data go buy. Now a night did take her photo wooden, kiss and say good night. What one would have to understand where I come from my father, didn't banners. He lost his man into my mom headway, my father and mother, so you Father became was mentally yes, when in Seoul not sitting in the June. I tell you that I missed anything other than heavenly Father mother was tougher. Demeanor may I could ever be enflowered, someone afraid of, mumbled was to type if she say I'm going to the store, and I mean for you to count your final. Do I get back you better, be careful when she pulled back up but it was a hot day in July in a winning
guess illuminating. My mom actually was going to revive- and I say yes ma- am he's got this luminous on back outside and drunk you brought the glass back and a model. Was they again, she said what turn revolver store and I say some problem issue: will you got time to go ahead and cut grass, and I cried- I give her baby look but was Workin the date in us Mama promised tomorrow. Could a grave and moaned looked at me? She soon. I'm try my best to see how the fuck you, you could grant more out of me telling you to go cut the gray and she looked at me boy you gotta get at it could aggressive at. Do I go about twenty twenty five minutes into couldn't
I happened to look up next to it to White Jim that I didn't know. I could learn more from us. It can I help you want on replant I'm looking financing arrangement as that would be me again. How can I didn't? I didn't phantom shellfish to detect in us. Ok, how can I at least we have will want for your wrist and ask for what they said. We have tabled at later, but right now we want you to put your name, is buying your back action plan, put mines by mobile They put the handcuffs on me, proceeded to put them in the score, but I I said at least allow me the opportunity to go in and tell my mother I'm being arrested for something and one Take this I know we're not gonna, let you go back and you can go back in and we are about to manage in planning the detectives Eleven going
what is mother in a golden, and I just showed my mother to handcuff in like any good mother. She began to scream and holler one of those handcuffs during on my baby and wanted to texture. Take him out. While I stand in talk to his mother few minutes later he comes out, we go proceeded to go to jail, and I asked detective at least fifty times, why am I being arrested? They would not respond with knots at work and after Grover the Father they asked me again. I still take the. Why am I being arrested and he finally come around watching drab in pc. You want to know why you been arrested as yes he's recharging. You would. First, we robber factory, kitten at first reading the murder at all. I know none of it and he Channel yelled at me. Let me taking something right now I don't care. What do you do
we didn't do but also make sure you found good job as a war crime. I didn't commit he's a humanitarian problem. I tell you, I don't care. What do you do that again? Do he supports Remember this. If you remember not enough, I'm gonna make sure you found guilty of and s withdrawal a little farther down the road. If that wasn't, I guess, and soon enough, we turn around needs a bad away. There's five things that go and come back. You would you like to know what they are I say yes, he's a number one. You black number to a white man is also used. What are you shot? Human, not here
believe me? I do not care, he said number three going to have a white prosecutor, no more for you. Don't have a white judge and number five more like you going to have an all white jury. Is it do you know what that spell, and he repeated the word conviction, conviction, conviction, conviction, Police station they put minish wholesale about two and a half hour and finally came in and ass a detective. You don't man. Will you tell me what date and what time is crime took place. And he goes to his folly. Lookin he timid. Setting the time- and I said, thank you Jesus I said I was at work at that protect the date and that protect the time, and I still think your car, I see my supervisor
we'll be why he has found only if they address in they takes out they state of about four while we combat cause. You thought my supervisors gonna clear. Yes, yes, you got the wrong man, yes, in the whose idea and come back and he's? Will I got good news, bad news the Good NEWS is we no longer going to charge you for first degree, robbery person who kidnapped first victim to murder your alibi, takes checks out. You was at work he's a butt now The bad news is, we are we're, but we, have decided that we go on Georgia with two couch first recapture tumor. As one I will give it all he said. Do you
remember, when I told you coming over here, I don't care whether you did or didn't do it. He said that whole fact for these new charge, I don't care what you think, but you remember this, I'm going to make sure you found guilty. This is the police issues, the foolish of areas where we were you were you terrified? Did you realize the magnitude of the severity of put it just happened to you? Did you because you are you still in you just till indisputably I'm in disbelief because, as I talked to the detective text, the sunken profound me there. He looked means limiting shop. He sat really believed into. He's with Seychelles is always taken up. One of your young. You used the word he should take this for your whole body.
And with tears down my eyes as a detective, I don't have a homeboy in this world that I would take her up like this phone and I always been broadly winford. You believe that that the police wanted to get the right person, but this day for some reason they just because your mother raise you two she's one of those straw Black women, southern women yes believes in already. Yes, leave. You worked hard showed up things would turn out all right. For you just tell the truth. Tell the truth. We think will turn out all right go to the police. The police will help you. Where she began. The police were the people to help you and they kept you right. Ever based on what I read in the book, you never went back home, so they held you for
Year and a half fourteen months. Yes, fourteen months before you even went to try and the trial was just a fiasco because they had already decided fish from the day. The jewish stood open, ribbed georgian We could have fallen. Turning, I told him. No, an important melatonin attorney come up then even actually I mean he just say it. I didn't go to law school, do pro bono work and I looked at the turn measure would make a difference to you. If I told you, I wasn't This is the guy who was assigned to defend years in haste me. He say you know. The problem with this statement is all of your is always doing some indian saying endured, there goes geology yeah.
I go and acid in jail, and I go to try a needle ballistic age, he goes out and he gave a silver engineer, and that was blinded and Warner, and I said so let me interrupted years or they go back to your mother's house and they get a gun. Yes to thirty. Eight caliber pistols, this that hasn't been fine in twenty five years and literally dust off that guy's and claim that the bullets they found match the bullets in your mother's got drunk? Yes and wasn't there, somebody who's who had said, but that gun hadn't been fired, detect at all ass. My mother, my name, was there he actual mom. Why don't you claims?
That alone is gone, but dust and she told him she said: he's Goin haven't been used in all twenty five years in they gave it to the police station clean it up, and I am just like this- I don't know more work to be done. They really they actually lie. So I want people to actually get the book. I hope you do. It reads like a novel, but when you recognize at every word of its true it's so startling, I want you to take us to the court room after a year and a half has passed and you're sitting in the court room and after the ballistic expert who turns out to be blind in one eye and incompetent that your lawyer had hired men. Up so terribly on the witness stand. You knew then, that you were going to be sent absolutely do the prosecution.
Crucified and when asked him did he know how to turn on the machine? He said headaches for help, he said it was day, helped you. What did you see He sat in see anything about my friend. He's a you, never seen the bullet I found the same legal but I've seen just where did they get this? This? The sky was sounded like a buffoon outer street ugly, were then there say you never know more than of trust. You come up here. You go to the police, it would appear Plash, though he was used to Charlotte the ideas decision. Yes, you know I've never heard of, but it back in and washed and data the plane sake. What able for tuna viable fifty dollars so that put your lawyer, let somebody tedious any Ashton did acts and show: how much will you get paid he's? Well, I might get It also makes a hundred dollars, I don't know
I may not even get anything I just come. The lawyer failed with quivered. Then ass. You I, like you know I should able finally get of my case revolved around nothing but ballistics. Either they match they don't match, know how, with national fingerprint norms. Just to state about by wars, and so they have. This is big guy who gets up that they paid whatever. Arlington you save and call the machine. Yes, they call them which the prosecution must not trunk input gives me is how the George lawyer. The prosecutor will stand in order that this man was one of the best there. Is it the jewish qualifiers Dean, because Eu Magazine- and he know more than the average human being well, I have to say in our brains
Vince in who will just mercy writes about your story is one of the first two reasons: Balkans Brine Stevenson, whose dedicated his life to trying to bring justice to people who have been unfairly convicted in left to die is how I actually came to hear your story. I was visiting doing a story on the lynching musing there and, saw your book, I must ask for I saw your book and it S. So can you take us to the day you heard that the jury comes back in and they say guilty can take us that moment will, when they say duty. I really love site for money
people's behind me and I went back to say something to it and I didn't recognize who she was and when they said guilty I was just told him shot. I want to know what did they find me guilty room into me? It wasn't nothing but a high class Lynch in Austin tell people to White man came and arrested me. Three white men, prosecuted man, white Judge, Simmons
in a wider, referred matured, nothing, but a leech in everything that I believed you take your time. Everything that I believe it was taught us a child left wing adjusts somehow wanted to protect my mom I didn t quite know what does she understood that I had been found guilty of capital market and what that meat, because in Alabama you can be found guilty in here what they call us Sanderson date later about a week or two weeks later- and I didn't know, did you fool understand it more like this prosecutor was seeking the depth and
and it keeps in a need somehow to protect Mama Thou Kip action left to somehow she performed less. Do your best friend who will talk about later? Yes, I think I have the best friend in the world know. Until I read about your best friend I have to say there is thing. You said around page sixty five, but how could I be the sand wondered what I'll be when this was all over everything good was being taken away. One small chunk at a time believe family truth face justice. I wondered who I would be when this was all over. How could I be the same person? Would there be anything left after this trial? What if they actually found me guilty? What? Then? Nobody believe me and some days it felt like the whole world, except for Lester and my mom was conspiring against me? Yes, you know ahead. Take
in and then the man who gave the polygraph tat said this guy's in his ears, sky, FBI, retired of biology, and it will get lieutenant action. How did he do? He said if I could go by these polygraph tat? I would take him out of these jail tonight. Is she said he just to act like a kill issues have been have twenty years. She say man is all business, then so.
She's had been here for twenty eight years. She said he mind his own business everything. So after trying to prove my innocence, I beg for to share my bed for hypnosis. I beg for anything that they was willing to give me to prove my innocence and when I pass a polygraph test in the prosecution reneged on his words saying we could use it. If, if I passing, if I fail, if he could use it it just sucked, every ounce of energy are ounce of believe everything out if you've been taught that justice telling the truth for coming, like I didn't see being convicted, I thought it was meant, then, in the courtroom. I didn't know that I was going to spend thirty years later before the truth come out unbelievable its unfathomable. And so there was some dark nights of the soul. You went obediently unto death row
and you you stop speaking literally you you did not speak. Didn't have speak every time I would say what is your name when issue so secured and on what is this just wrote it down and gave it to me for three years. They thought I couldn't talk. It was ass, though God had taken my book record and I couldn't talk Mr Wolf we're not to adding even realized that I could have so much inside of me because of what had been taken from me and I'm going to miss Hale, In addition, you you had dreams. Were many nights, killing Macgregor Richelieu issue was in the past.
Cute originally jack? He was a digital tv was thrown out of here and he will celebration wrote a book and he had the idea. The hit was right. He thanked work should be permanent white, and all I wanted to do. I didn't want to come back and escape if you on the run. I wanted to choke the life out And I want my face to be the last phrase tat he saw in so you were consumed with that rage and anger is long time. Yes, Ma Am. What I've seen that I couldn t escape four years later, I heard a broom laugh for the first time in debt, while always been. I think laughter is good for the soul and when I heard If it wasn't, there wasn't a laughing at first.
Three years were literally you go outside. I I've been on death row of seeing the minutes when you think five by seven so and even when you go outside you going outside in a cage and accurately in my bed and touched the fall. The wall with my arm is long, but five I7 is not big at all, and when you got the bed mounted to the wall in the toilet mounted to Wall, you have no room to do anything and that's what I lived in It is pure solitary confirm you can't even see the other guys on the right. You don't have other human touching, you don't know so for two you that what did you tell the you know what MR had not I. I was trying to figure out what this time become.
Do. Are you count The days there is like Cowan the time in your head to toe. Caesar whimsies authorities of Friday's matter of its May. If its December doesn't matter, no term is a little like the walls were in fact, and don't even exist, because you own the place where queen they time is Anna end. They going to come, get you and they going to strap you down. In the chair and, as it turns out, your cell was just thirty feet from the death chambers their men would have to take the walk down. Your hallway dish with but eight other cells, eight other sellers top and bottom and walked to the death chamber and when they were killed you could smell their flesh or use, and in your
time there. You witnessed fifty four fifty four and one woman being executed, execute and of all the fitful acts of guard ass off. Is there anything you can give me so I will have to smear, therefore Washburn flashpoint. They don't look at me and he said no there's nothing. I can give you anything as a consolation to it. He said you get used to it and one day somebody will smell your flesh burning, and it was at that moment that very moment that I escaped up here I had to, and I often tell people I can understand why about level me and took their own life.
Cain escape appear in your head. Is all you can survive? If you just dealing with that, every is the reality. Being in this fight by swedish. So so what broke it for you? it was someone crying in the night had usually lost too small He was wailing. Wailing wailing well This is a man delightedly about for three Global actor. Missionary was from I ain't. I wasn't there too really to get annoyed about. I wasn't there to make friends. All I knew I was there for some. I didn't do it. When I heard this man cry. Early age, my mom had taught me compassion.
He said no matter what one dogs in life they still deserve compassion and it was that compassionate, a holler through this brick wall and I got up to the front of the door now get out with my boys, and I said: hey is something wrong over. There took him awhile to reply, and he finally said I just got worried. My mother passed. And I told him I was sorry he let me it was listening they all, I am sure, is willing. I told him a corny joke and we count laughter just a little bit. Tragedy break And I laid back now and the next moment every find my voice was back as well as my sense of humor, and I ain't looked back since how you disappear to go wherever I want to go in may people could laugh and you say in the sun does shine. You said I wondered why it is that the cries.
Another human being, whether it's a baby or woman and grieved for man and pain can touch us in ways we don't expect. I wasn't expecting to have my heartbreak that night I wasn't expecting to in three years of islands. It was a revelation to realise that I wasn't the only man on death row. I was born with the same give from God. We are all born with the impulse to reach out and lessen the suffering of another human being. It was a gift and we each had a choice whether to use this gift. Or not what I knew when you're hanging at the end of your rope. Does it really matter what color the hand is reaches up to help you? What new was that he loved his mother. Just like I love my mother and I could understand and effective level still alive made me appreciate her more it made me almost stanislaus evil and saw somebody lack you told the joke. Yes, somebody laughed. You heard that laughter and something about that lack this aspect,
all open to all you been warning. I love you. I think that, as I see it before laughed is good for the soul and I'm just trying to me, mad everything, even the worst of the worst. I try to find some human, so you have This first of all, I think one of the things that saved you, as you. Imagination, because when officer said that to you about one day they will be smelling Euro flesh. You learn, then, to go away in your own imagination and you went to lie. So places to see that you may think less on your head is unhelpful to people. Please don't make me twenty million blackmail. One goes in Queen Elizabeth, but at the end of the day I realized
She was in jail, just as our she was Emma someone. Fifty room jail, jail and unified by establishing a fire by several, so we had spoken in come in, I just wanted to escape and see how she was tall itself Ok, I want is a crazy, but that's. It is created when you hear the tea, when people actually think about have had the privilege to walk down and enjoy besides the building everything even have off. She can enjoy the way angel. Since you ve been out. Yes, you ve been going stores, I can go and stores and shop. They have the ship
doors down, but you went in your imagination, imagination ready to see her in because she was in prison. Just as I was- and I wanted to give her some type of constellation that it's okay, you, okay and the Ok M was a visit. Her Hearn and I realized it. After travelling, my man, there was not the war. No one in the state of Alabama do about. I just kept tramp, a traveller, my european always reasonable, a mayor, Mohammed, bearing my man for fifteen when I married to how they bury vs for fifteen long beautiful. You have been one of the special wife. If there's a thing is perfectly sheen incitement issued in ok do ass. It were
the fact that she didn't spending the money, and so what I did was I didn't know we use my mind for garbage in the fifteen years that I was married to Halle Berry. Not one time did, I think, of her a sexual anyway. I used her to coat through some lonely days and it just sitting there talking to her, and I have seen a few of her movies and new when she was married to David Justin for the Yankees and Yankees have always been my favorite team and I just sit there and she had been through some rough time and when I marry her fifteen years with the best fifteen years old life as well as mine, and so Mama confusion and then you let her go for central bodies. The Nazis and bull ravenous bus. I'm taking you Mamma We must be very serious objections
we can draw a blush like this. I imagine what she could do you'll get away car yeah in math. This is what will be the rest of my life. Now, I'm back, thinking about getting out of here, and I think that, if I have to get out of here, some have escaped shiny, bullock, drab getaway car, these are the games you playing plantier saw your mine is to get through the day. Oh yes, to get through the days, because, obviously, if you saw her and speed that tv on that we are now wolves, but they showed us the movie when approaching speak, do not forget. The storm allowed was to purchase tubes. But in the first years, did you have a tv? Do you have an nothing you're just in a room all day long and nothing would nothing bottle about a Bible in when I got to the bottom and through Bunderby, you didn't touch the Bible for three years our conversation will continue in the next episode. You can listen
by downloading part too? I'm overwintering and you ve been listening to supersede conversations the podcast you can follow. Two percent on Instagram, twitter and facebook- if you haven't yet go to apple podcast, unsubscribe rate and reviews, this podcast joy, next week for another super, so conversation. Thank you for listening. From the women who brought you sugar, Emmi would being visionary filmmaker to furnish an executive producer, Oprah winfried comes, then you install anti drama series which today exploring the storm relationship of one young couple stories: Social Lockman, Olano, Miller, Michael Beach, and a legendary Sicily Thyssen every second, every minute, every hour cherish the day, don't mister tombe. They promote real evidence well on the upper Winfrey network,
Transcript generated on 2020-02-01.