Loving mercy, living in prison

The Sun Does Shine is the gripping memoir by Anthony Ray Hinton, who was wrongfully convicted of killing two men and sentenced to death in 1985 in Alabama. The case against Hinton, a 29-year-old black man, was clearly shaped by racism and rooted in insufficient evidence. He spent nearly 30 years in prison, until he was finally freed in 2015, after 16 years of working with Equal Justice Initiative.

As Hinton relives moments leading up to his conviction and his painful decades in prison, his voice burns with righteous anger at the systemic injustice at work. From the moment he is convicted, however, he finds great freedom is his ability to make choices that will shape his life for the better. Even in the depths of death row he chooses compassion over hatred, and forgiveness over bitterness. 

Surrounded by sights and sounds of death and despair, Hinton finds strength in his faith in God and the love of his family and friends. He also relies on the liberating force of his vivid, playful imagination. His friendships with fellow inmates help him recognize their shared humanity and identity as children of God. He advocates for a prison library so he and the other prisoners can share in the transformative power of literature.

Hinton’s gritty yet triumphant memoir bears witness to the rewards inherent in “loving mercy” in one of the world’s most seemingly forsaken places. 

  • Adele Gallogly lives with her husband in Hamilton, Ont. By day, she writes for World Renew, a relief and development agency; during evenings and weekends, she lets short stories and other creative pieces out to play.

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