Brave Hearts-Rubin “Hurricane” Carter

From time to time, I’m going to highlight some individual or group that shows remarkable courage in the face of adversity or in standing up against injustice.  I call them brave hearts, and this is my first “Brave Hearts” post.  Steve

Brave Hearts—Rubin “Hurricane” Carter

HURRICANE CARTER“I flew above the prison on the wings of my innocence like an eagle.”

Have you ever heard the story of prizefighter Rubin “Hurricane” Carter?  He was a talented black middleweight boxer who was falsely arrested and convicted for a triple murder that he never committed.  He became a “cause célèbre” during the mid ‘70’s, with folks like Muhammad Ali and much of Hollywood coming to his aid.  He was immortalized in a wonderful ballad by Bob Dylan called “Hurricane.”

After 18 years, he was finally completely vindicated.  I first heard about him through the Dylan song.  He now lives in Canada, happily married, on a farm, living with those who helped him gain his freedom.

Here’s what he said about about his experience:

“Prison was a concentration camp.  It’s still mind-boggling to me that I survived it….I didn’t wear prison clothes or eat prison food or get involved in prison programs or work at prison jobs.  To do any of those things was to admit that I should be a prisoner.

“Every once in a while they’d come by with a notice for my appointment to go before the parole board.  I never went.  Because if I went before them and they said I had been rehabilitated that would mean that I had something to be rehabilitated from.  The only thing that kept me going was my innocence.  I didn’t belong in prison and I knew it.  That’s the only thing I knew for sure.  I flew above the prison on the wings of my innocence like an eagle.

“I liked it alone,” says Carter.  “That how I learned to live.  I found out who I was by ripping away everything on the surface.  I ripped away the hate and the racism and the evil and the revenge.  Everything.  And then I built myself back up from the little speck of identity that was left.”

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About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

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