Wednesday, Mar 23, 2022 7:00 PM
A Cappella Books on Zoom
A deeply reported, gripping narrative of injustice, exoneration, and the lifelong impact of incarceration, ”Beyond Innocence” is the poignant saga of one remarkable life that sheds vitally important light on the realities of the American justice system at every level.
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and A Cappella Books welcome award-winning journalist and author Phoebe Zerwick for a virtual discussion of her new book, “Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt.” Zerwick will appear in conversation with Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and award-winning author Timothy B. Tyson.
This event is free and open to the public. Join us on Zoom via the link below.
Copies of the book, which will ship after the event, are available for purchase via the link below.
About the Book
In June 1985, a young Black man in Winston-Salem, N.C. named Darryl Hunt was falsely convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of a white copyeditor at the local paper. Many in the community believed him innocent and crusaded for his release even as subsequent trials and appeals reinforced his sentence. Finally, in 2003, the tireless efforts of his attorney combined with an award-winning series of articles by Phoebe Zerwick in the Winston-Salem Journal led to the DNA evidence that exonerated Hunt. Three years later, the acclaimed documentary, “The Trials of Darryl Hunt,” made him known across the country and brought his story to audiences around the world.
But Hunt’s story was far from over. As Zerwick poignantly reveals, it is singularly significant in the annals of the miscarriage of justice and for the legacy Hunt ultimately bequeathed. Part true crime drama, part chronicle of a life cut short by systemic racism, ”Beyond Innocence” powerfully illuminates the sustained catastrophe faced by an innocent person in prison and the civil death nearly everyone who has been incarcerated experiences attempting to restart their lives. Freed after nineteen years behind bars, Darryl Hunt became a national advocate for social justice, and his case inspired lasting reforms, among them a law that allows those on death row to appeal their sentence with evidence of racial bias. He was a beacon of hope for so many—until he could no longer bear the burden of what he had endured and took his own life.
Fluidly crafted by a master journalist, ”Beyond Innocence” makes an urgent moral call for an American reckoning with the legacies of racism in the criminal justice system and the human toll of the carceral state
About the Author
Phoebe Zerwick is an award-winning investigative journalist, narrative writer, and college professor. Her writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine; National Geographic; The Nation; the Winston-Salem Journal; and Glamour, among other publications. Her work has been recognized by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, Columbia University, and the North Carolina Press Association and featured in the HBO documentary ”The Trials of Darryl Hunt.” She is the director of the journalism program at Wake Forest University.
About the Conversation Partner
Timothy B. Tyson is senior research scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and adjunct professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina. His most recent book, ”The Blood of Emmett Till,” won the 2018 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award; made the "long list" of ten books for the 2017 National Book Award, and was named Best Book of 2017 by both the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution named it Best Southern Book of 2017. Tyson is also the author of ”Blood Done Sign My Name”, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, winner of the Southern Book Award for Nonfiction and the Grawemeyer Award in Religion. His 1999 book, ”Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power,” won the James Rawley Prize for best book on race and the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in U.S. History from the Organization of American Historians (OAH). He is co-editor with David Cecelski of ”Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy,” which won the 1998 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Meyers Center for Human Rights in North America and author of ”Ghosts of 1898: Wilmington's Race Riot and the Rise of White Supremacy,” which won 2007 Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. He serves on the executive board of the North Carolina NAACP, Repairers of the Breach, and the UNC Center for Civil Rights.