Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former boxing champion whose conviction for a triple murder was overturned after he served nearly 20 years in prison, has died of prostate cancer. Carter, whose story inspired a Bob Dylan song and a Denzel Washington film, was 76.
Too soon gone; too much life stolen.
Carter fought the good fight — long after his days in the ring were taken from him:
He was active in the movement to free wrongfully convicted prisoners, reports Jon Kalish for our Newscast unit.
“There are far more people who are wrongly convicted than people would like to think about,” Carter said of his activism. “And this is my work because people came to help me when I was in dire need of help.”
Those who talk of post-racial America forget too easily, I think, how ferociously state violence was employed to enforce racial hierarchy here. For a different story that conveys this, check out a book that came up in the threads a few days ago, Devil in the Grove, and consider how long the sheriff at the heart of the judicial murders documented there held on to terrifying local power. It’s a little less explicit now — but those days aren’t all gone yet, not by a long shot. That’s why, in part, Carter’s post prison cause could keep him so fully occupied.
But for now, let us remember Rubin Carter himself. A 20th century American life.
Image: George Bellows, Both Members of This Club, 1909.