Death Row and Mass Incarceration in the United States: The New Racism?
William Neal Moore, who came within seven hours of execution by the state of Georgia, will guide the Berry community in a discussion of race, prison and the death penalty.
ROME, Ga. – Is the U.S. system of mass incarceration the most racist institution in American life? Is this system, as Michelle Alexander has argued in a new book (The New Jim Crow) simply Jim Crow wearing new clothes? One of every 10 black males in the United States ages 25 to 29 is in prison, the largest and most expensive prison system in the world, and 50 percent of all black males without a high school degree will go to prison at some point in their lives.
The Rev. William Neal Moore, a survivor of Georgia’s death row, will discuss his experience in the U.S. penal system and will guide the audience in a discussion about race in America in 2012, and about the movement away from reform and rehabilitation and toward the warehousing of inmates on the margins of American consciousness.
Moore will speak to the Berry Community on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in Berry’s Science Auditorium. Moore’s Berry appearance is free and open to the public. The talk is being offered as part of the Berry College Honors Program and its Oxbridge Lecture Series.
In addition, via Skype, Moore will be reunited with his death penalty case attorney, Jack Boger, Dean of the University of North Carolina School of Law and a long-time leader in civil rights litigation, on what will be the 21st anniversary of Moore’s release from Georgia state prison.
Moore’s visit to Berry precedes by three days the national release of a new movie starring Moore called “Execution: Right or Wrong? You Decide.” He will attend premieres in eight cities after his talk on the Berry campus. Theater audiences will be invited to enter the witness room and sit front and center for the final days of a man’s life on death row and ultimately his execution in the electric chair.
The movie is intended to “make a great impact in the ongoing debate over the death penalty in America by allowing the audience a more immediate understanding of what an execution actually entails,” said Steven Scaffidi of Ghost Rider Pictures, who directed and produced the film.
Moore, who plays the condemned man in the film, spent 16 years on death row and is the only self-confessed murderer to be released from death row. He is an unconditionally free man due in part to the forgiveness of the victim’s family and the intervention of Mother Theresa.
Moore is author of the book, “I Shall Not Die”, which recounts his days on death watch with only 72 hours to live.
The new film, which has been shown in the United Kingdom, “is a refreshing departure from the way capital punishment is usually portrayed in films,” said Brian Evans, interim director of the Death Penalty Abolition Campaign for Amnesty International USA.
As part of the premier series, “Execution” will screen at the Tara Theater 4, 2345 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta on Nov. 15.
Since his release from prison in November 1991, Moore has traveled the globe telling his remarkable story. Moore is an ordained minister through Christ Assembly Evangelistic Ministries. He and his wife live in Rome and are active members of the community. Moore last spoke at Berry in February.