By: Anthony “Ray” Hinton
The Sun Does Shine is a heartbreaking memoir of a man who spent 30 years in a 6 foot by 9 foot cell in Holman Correctional’s Death Row for crimes that he didn’t commit. Ray was 29 when he was sentenced to death for killing two men while he was clocked into a shift at his night job many miles away from the crimes. His story highlights the inequities and the injustices in the “Justice System.” It shows how unnatural and immoral the Death penalty is. How, the most unlikely individuals are thrown together, left to die, and somehow form a bizarre sort of “family.” How twisted it is that the guards who feed those on death row, and care for them. Who wish them well with appeals, and laugh with them. Who cry with them when delivering bad news. Are the same people who eventually, without blinking an eye, will walk each of them to their deaths. Will shave their heads. Will put a bag over their heads. Will kill them.
This book tells the story of a book club, formed in order to occupy some amount of space and time on something other than Death Row. It tells the story of men, some guilty, some innocent, some who have learned from the often horrible decisions they have made, as they are given their date and walked past Ray’s cell to the death chamber.
But it also tells the story of the deepest form of human resilience. And, once again highlights the fact that Brian Stevenson is the greatest civil rights leader of our time.
When I put the book down, I felt like I knew Ray, and I felt so heartbroken for his life, his trauma, his innocence. He made it out, after his case was overturned by the US Supreme Court, but he undoubtedly will never be able to fully escape the traumas of Death Row.