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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Was Hurricane Carter Innocent?

Here's an episode from the Great American Carnival that at least deserves a passing nod.   Growing up in NJ and having an interest in boxing,  I learned something about Ruben "Hurricane" Carter, the Paterson fighter convicted of triple murder in the early sixties.  Eventually his conviction was overturned on procedural grounds, after decades of activism on his behalf.  For liberals, Carter was embraced as a victim of systemic white prejudice.  See the Normal Jewison movie with Denzel Washington.  Bob Dylan dedicated a whole album to him,  with the title song defending his case.  Here's his obit in the NY Times:

Here's a more populist view of his story, which is entertaining if somewhat unenlightened:

Some sensible people did believe Ruben was wrongfully convicted:

Bottom line:  a very good fighter, who once knocked out the great Emile Griffith (a smaller fighter) in one round, but who went into decline after losing a UD to titleholder Joey Girardello.    As NJ sportswriter Jerry Izenburg said about him, he was railroaded, but I'm glad I don't have to write his story.

Postscript:   Here's a NJ columnist who did his research and does not think he was railroaded.  This might be the best piece on Carter:

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