The Sun Does Shine, by Anthony Ray Hinton

Imagine this for a moment: you are in your back yard. It’s a hot summer day and you are mowing the grass. You look up and see two police officers walking toward you. Confused, you turn off the lawnmower and greet the officers, who immediately grab you and tell you that you’re under arrest. You are put in jail and given a public defender who complains to you that he is only getting $1,000 to represent you. “I eat one thousand dollars for breakfast,” he says to you. He puts on a sham, not even half-hearted, defense and tries to get more money from your elderly mother, who has nothing to give him. You spend the next 30 years on death row. You are innocent. The only evidence in the case is evidence that exonerates you, but you are black and the prosecutor, police officers, detectives, judge, and even the bailiffs are white and have the power and you are helpless.

That is exactly what happens to Anthony Ray Hinton. The Sun Does Shine is the story of a boy growing up in the American south. A boy who, admittedly, made some mistakes. But a man who most definitely did not assault and murder anyone.

I had to keep reminding myself that he made it off of death row and out of prison and has been exonerated now. Otherwise, I don’t know how I could have continued to hear about everything he suffered. I find it amazing and inspiring to know how Ray handled all of what happened to him. I wouldn’t blame him for being bitter and angry and vengeful. But he isn’t. He is an incredible man–someone I would be honored to meet. And this book is a transcendent example of the power of love and hope and forgiveness over hatred and despair and evil.

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