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Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

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Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was a professional boxer who had been a #1 contender for the middleweight boxing crown. In 1966, he and his friend John Artis were wrongfully arrested for a triple murder which took place in a bar in New Jersey. While some still maintain that it is not entirely clear who committed the crime, it is very clear that Carter and Artis did not receive a fair trial. Not only were Carter and Artis were the only black people in a courtroom full of whites, but the jury was also made up of so-called "death-qualified" jurors.

Carter wrote an autobiography while in jail, and many years after it had been published, a boy from Brooklyn stumbled across the book and read it. He was so moved that he wrote to Mr. Carter, asking if he could meet him. Carter reluctantly began corresponding with the boy and his Canadian friends, and they decided to take it upon themselves to free an innocent man. At one point along the line, Carter's autobiography was sent to the legendary songwriter Bob Dylan, who was deeply moved by the story.

"The first time I saw him," recalls Dylan, "I left knowing one thing...I realized that this man's philosophy and my philosophy were running down the same road, and you don't meet too many people like that." As a result, Dylan wrote a song in 1974 called "Hurricane," which told Rubin's story.

Rubin Carter currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted in Toronto, and the Alliance for Prison Justice in Boston. He also speaks regularly to high school and university audiences, as well as at corporate meetings and conferences. According to fans who have heard him, he speaks of one race: the human race, accepting and forgiving. He also says that it isn't that he is not bitter--sometimes he feels bitter--he simply no longer behaves bitterly; he behaves caringly. Bitterness is there, but he cannot be the person he wishes to be unless he keeps the bitterness out of his behavior.

Universal Pictures has just recently released a film about the life of Rubin Carter. The director is Norman Jewison (And Justice For All 1979, Moonstruck 1987, Other People's Money 1991, Only You 1994), and the film is called The Hurricane. It stars Denzel Washington as the title character. The film premiered at the Toronoto Film Festival on September 17, and has been described by a visitor to this site as being "captivating and devastating," leaving him and his wife "totally overwhelmed."

Rubin Carter, who attended a sneak preview on the night before the premier, received a standing ovation for coming through an experience that revealed "the best and worst of humanity." The movie was filmed on location at the original Lafayette Bar and Grill in Patterson, NJ. The film follows the story of Rubin Carter and John Artis as they are arrested, tried, and convicted for a crime they did not commit. Universal Pictures also has a trailer up on their website, as well as a number of behind-the-scenes pictures and background on the making of the movie.

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