Oglethorpe Day annually celebrates the lasting legacy of our university’s namesake, General James Edward Oglethorpe. A philanthropist, military leader, member of Parliament, and social reformer, Oglethorpe was regarded as one of Britain’s most active 18th century humanitarians. He founded the colony of Georgia to allow the worthy poor an opportunity to transform their lives in the new world.
To commemorate Oglethorpe’s legacy, each year the university welcomes a guest speaker to address a humanitarian topic. Anthony Ray Hinton, author of “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” will share his story of wrongful conviction with the Oglethorpe community on February 13.
Hinton was released in April 2015 after spending 30 years on Alabama’s death row for a crime he did not commit. He was released with the help of the Equal Justice Initiative, of which he is now an employee. He now serves as EJI’s Community Educator and travels both nationally and internationally to speak about his experience.
One of the longest serving death row prisoners in Alabama history and among the longest serving condemned prisoners to be freed after presenting evidence of innocence, Mr. Hinton is the 152nd person exonerated from death row since 1983. Thirty years ago, Mr. Hinton was arrested and charged with two capital murders based solely on the assertion that a revolver taken from his mother’s home was the gun used in both murders and in a third uncharged crime. EJI attorneys engaged three of the nation’s top firearms examiners, who testified in 2002 that the revolver could not be matched to crime evidence. State prosecutors never questioned the new findings but nonetheless refused to re-examine the case or concede error.
After 12 more years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the lower courts, and a new trial was granted. The judge finally dismissed the charges after prosecutors said that scientists at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences tested the evidence and confirmed that the crime bullets cannot be matched to the Hinton weapon. Anthony Ray Hinton was released.
Following his presentation, Hinton will be signing his book “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row”. Copies will be available for purchase.
Oglethorpe Day – February 13, 2019
Schedule of Events
Enjoy refreshments and get ready to cheer on the runners
1 p.m. sharp
Petrels of Fire Race
Oglethorpe Day Lecture
Speaker: Anthony Ray Hinton, author, The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row
Conant Performing Arts Center
Book signing with Mr. Hinton
Oglethorpe Day Soiree
Turner Lynch Campus Center