“They can incarcerate my body but never my mind,”
~ Rubin “Hurricane” Carter
Last month, we lost a hero. On April 20, 2014 at the age of 76, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter died of prostate cancer. Rubin, who later become known as Hurricane Carter, fought his way into the hearts of the American people, literally. His story is truly inspiring.
Today, we are looking into Rubin “Hurricane” Carter’s inspiring story.
Rubin Carter became known to the American people because of his charisma and talent in the boxing ring. Before his career was cut short, Carter impressed the public with his left hook and his determination in the ring. That is how he became known as, “The Hurricane.”
The New York Times describes “The Hurricane” like this,
“Mr. Carter was a showman in the ring. Solidly built at 5-foot-8 and about 155 pounds, he would enter in a hooded black velvet robe trimmed with metallic gold thread, the image of a crouching black panther on the back.”
Hurricane Carter was so good that he just barely lost the fight for the middle weight championship in 1964.
However, Hurricane Carter’s career was cut short when he was accused of murdering three people. It was an accusation that lead to a conviction and an imprisonment of an innocent man.
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For something that he never done
Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.
~ The Lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane”
which was written about Hurricane Carter-
Hurricane Carter’s Early Years
The future middleweight champion contender was troubled as a youth. Though he was born in New Jersey on May 6, 1937, Rubin grew up in Georgia with his parents and 6 siblings.
At the age of 9, Carter was already getting into trouble. He, along with some friends, stole clothing from a Paterson store. When his father found out, he turned his son over to the police, and Rubin was put on two years probation.
When Carter was eleven, he stabbed a man and was sent to the Jamesburg State Home for Boys. Rubin said it was self defense after the man made sexual advances at him. At the school, which is now known as New Jersey Training School for Boys, Rubin wrote in his autobiography how the guards abused and beat him.
When Carter was 17, he escaped the school and enlisted in the Army. It was in the Army where Carter was introduced to boxing. During his service, he became the Army’s European light-welterweight champion. Carter was later honorably discharged from the Army.
Back on American soil after a night of drinking, Carter stole a woman’s purse and assaulted a man. He served four years in Trenton State Prison for that conviction.
“Quiet rage became my constant companion,”
-Hurricane said about his stay at Trenton State Prison
It was during his stay that his love for boxing reignited, and he caught the attention of the fight managers.
Hurricane Carter’s Professional Years
“His shaven head, prominent mustache, unwavering stare and solid frame made him an intimidating presence in the ring decades before such a look became commonplace,”
-according to the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, reported by CNN
When Hurricane Carter’s career ended, he had won 27 fights, 20 of them by knockout. He had 12 loses and only one draw.
Rubin Hurricane Carter was sentenced to 30 years to life for a crime he never committed. The trial was sham, no motive was ever provided, no murder weapon, the witnesses were actually in the midst of a robbery when the murders happened, and the victim himself refused to identify Carter as his shooter.
All of Rubin’s cards were marked in advance
The trial was a pig-circus he never had a chance
The judge made Rubin’s witnesses drunkards from the slums
To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum
And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger
No one doubted that he pulled the trigger
And though they could not produce the gun
The DA said he was the one who did the deed
And the all-white jury agreed.
~ Lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane”
which was written about Hurricane Carter
It wasn’t until 22 years later that Rubin Hurricane Carter’s original indictments were dismissed by the Supreme Court.
What Hurricane Carter Did With His Freedom
In 2004, Carter founded the Innocence International. According to their website,
“The Innocent In Prison Project International (IIPPI) is a medium, which supports errors of justice awareness. Errors of justice concern anyone. When innocent individuals are imprisoned, the guilty ones are at large and may commit more crimes. IIPPI illustrates cases of possibly false or wrongful convictions.”
Hurricane Carter spent the rest of his life fighting for those imprisoned he believed to be innocent.
While in this day and age it seems impossible that an innocent person would be convicted of crimes that he or she didn’t do, we hear these stories far too often.
Hurricane Carter can inspire each of us because he never gave up the fight. When his fight was won, he went to fight on behalf of others.
If you are in a situation where your freedom is being challenged, please call my office. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney who is working tirelessly to defend your rights is invaluable. I am here to help.