Hinton speaks at the Danford Thomas Conference
As Anthony Ray Hinton recalled his 28 years on Alabama’s death row, tears streamed down his cheeks and the cheeks of audience members on a moving and unforgettable night at John’s Chapel. L. Hill, April 7th.andat the annual Danford Thomas Memorial Lecture.
Hinton’s story of being falsely accused of two murders in 1985 and the injustices that followed was gripping, but his account of befriending another death row inmate (the son of a Ku Klux Klan who was later executed for the brutal murder of a disabled black teenager) was a testament to the power of love to triumph over hate. He urged his listeners to seek justice, not revenge, and to do what they can to change the country to one that lives Christ’s call to “love your neighbour”.
Hinton was removed from death row and released in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice initiative, which provides legal assistance to those incarcerated. The group has been responsible for over 150 people who have been removed from death row. Hinton’s book, The Sun Shines: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Rowtells his story.
In recent years, Georgetown faculty have used the book just mercy as part of the Foundations program for freshmen. The book – a personal account of the Equal Justice Initiative’s work by Hinton’s attorney, Bryan Stevenson – includes details of the fight to free him. The course helps students focus on what it means to be human, examines the pursuit of civil rights in the United States, the fight against racism, and issues in the justice system. Students also took trips to museums and civil rights memorials during the course.
The Danford Thomas Memorial Lectureship was established in 1920 by Thomas’s family to bring public interest lecturers to the College. Dr. Horace Hambrick, currently trustee of Georgetown, is a descendant of the Thomas family who established the trust that funds this lecture series.
After the public lecture, Hinton met with College trustees, administrators, and city and county officials at a private reception where he also signed copies of his book.