Chair's Book Club


What We’re Reading:
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row
by Anthony Ray Hinton


Join your SECF colleagues this summer for engaging discussions and programs focused on Anthony Ray Hinton’s inspiring memoir and its themes of hope, justice, and humanity.

How to participate:

First, join the Chair’s Book Club. From there, you choose how to engage – read the book, join a discussion group, attend events. Take part in one activity or join us for all!

1) Read the book.

 · Members can borrow an eBook copy through SECF’s Lending Library.
 · Buy it on Amazon or find it at a local bookseller near you.
 · Visit WorldCat to find it in a library near you.

2) Join a discussion and share your thoughts.

We’ve started a private group on Goodreads so members can discuss the book with each other, ask questions, and share their thoughts on topics and themes from the work. New to Goodreads? Visit Goodreads online to get started and create an account. To join the SECF discussion, go to our Chair’s Book Club page on Goodreads.
Zoom – offers a free Basic Plan with a 40-minute time limit on video conferences with three or more participants. The free plan includes most features and can accommodate up to 100 participants in a meeting.
Skype – the Meet Now option lets you start a chat or meeting without having to sign up for an account or download the app to your desktop. Users will need to download the Skype app to use the service on their phone. Allows for up to 50 people with no time limit.
FaceTime – if everyone in your group is on Apple devices, you can start a Group FaceTime from the FaceTime app or from a group conversation in the Messages app and add up to 32 people. See this link for more information and instructions.
Google Meet – formerly Hangouts Meet, this tool is now being rolled out to all Google users. Google is providing unlimited meeting time through September 30, 2020, and you can host up to 100 participants. Hosts and participants must have a Google account.
Slack – provides a free option for small groups to create an online discussion forum with messaging. Video conferencing is available for 1:1 calls, but not groups. Best for ongoing or asynchronous discussions between group calls.

3) Attend upcoming programs.

Stay tuned for more details on virtual programming this summer, including a June webinar discussing the book’s themes and a culminating online discussion for members in early August.


About the Book:

On April 3, 2015, Anthony Ray Hinton left the Jefferson County Jail a free man after spending nearly 30 years on Alabama’s death row. “The sun does shine,” he said as he was embraced by family and friends.

In 1985, Hinton was arrested and charged with homicide following the murders of two Birmingham-area fast-food restaurant managers. The survivor of a third shooting identified Hinton from a lineup, and police found an old revolver belonging to Hinton’s mother that they connected to all three crimes. Even though he passed a polygraph test and his employer had told police that he was working in a locked warehouse at the time, Hinton was arrested, tried and convicted based almost solely on the thin firearms evidence presented by prosecutors.


Just 29 years old when he was sentenced to die by electrocution, Hinton spent his first three years on death row in stunned silence and despair. At first, he expressed anger at those who would sentence an innocent man to die. However, he came to accept his fate and resolved not just to survive, but to serve as a beacon of hope for the others around him. For the next 27 years, he served as a model and a mentor for those on death row, all the while never losing the determination to prove his innocence. In 2015, with the help of attorney Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative, Hinton won his release from prison. Hinton’s story is one in which prejudice and loss are overcome by hope, inspiration, and justice.


About the Author:

Anthony Ray Hinton was 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. Hinton lives in Alabama and works with the Equal Justice Initiative as a community educator. He is a frequent speaker on prison reform and forgiveness and serves as an advocate for abolition of the death penalty.

If you have questions about the Chair's Book Club, please contact Stephen Sherman, Director of Research & Data, at stephen@secf.org or (404) 524-0911.



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