Cori’s Pick: The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton
In 1985, at the age of 29, Anthony Ray Hinton is arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama and sentenced to death by electrocution.
At first glance of this statement, you may think that the punishment fits the crime. That he deserves the sentence he has been given. But you would be wrong.
In The Sun Does Shine, Anthony Ray Hinton shares his very true story of sitting on death row for nearly 30 years for a crime he did not commit. A crime that took place when he was working as an unskilled laborer at a guarded facility, where anyone that leaves or enters is accounted for. Yet still, he is arrested on a sunny afternoon while mowing his mother’s yard. At first, Ray knows it’s a big mistake, that it will all get sorted out because he is innocent. He was at work when this murder took place, and how can you be two places at once? But what transgresses illustrates how being poor, being black, and being passed through the Alabama court system does not always result in justice being served. It means that sometimes, people sit on death row for 30 years for a crime they didn’t commit.
Ray’s story is unfathomable and I devoured it. I just had to find out how the system could have so epically failed him – and many others. But more than the outline of his case, you get to know Ray as a person, not just an inmate. A human that goes through stages of rage and hatred but soon realizes that with faith and family, he can still live his life, even though it’s on death row. With a foreword by Bryan Stevenson, (author of Just Mercy) who is the attorney that ultimately fights for Ray’s freedom, this book is both tragic and inspiring but also important, and highly recommended.