Justice & Music

Justice & Music

The Global Center for Journalism and Democracy is set to tackle the controversial topic of wrongful conviction in the United States through a unique evening of conversation and music.


Since 1989, there have been more than 300 DNA post-conviction exonerations, with most inmates serving more than 13 years behind bars.


The Global Center has put together a star-studded panel to discuss this important social justice issue, featuring Anthony Graves, also known as “Death Row Exoneree 138.” Graves spent 18 years behind bars, with 12 of those on Death Row, and the majority in solitary confinement, for a crime he did not commit. Through the tireless work of the Innocence Network, and Anthony’s own efforts, he was finally released in 2010.


Anthony Graves will be joined on the panel by Jeff Blackburn, the the founder of and chief counsel to the Innocence Project of Texas, and the counsel for Timothy Cole, who received the first posthumous exoneration in Texas, Brandi Grissom, the managing editor of the Texas Tribune, who has written extensively on the subject of wrongful conviction, and Dennis Longmire, a SHSU faculty member in the in Criminal Justice department who specializes in public perceptions of crime and criminal justice.


This vital discussion will take place as part of the 52nd Annual Contemporary Music Festival, hosted by the School of Music on Saturday, April 12th in the Gaetner Performing Arts Center on the Huntsville campus.


The evening’s program will include a screening of "In Their Own Words," a film of interviews with exonerees produced by The Innocence Project, and several musical pieces.


The first musical performance for the evening will be The Innocents, a performance with percussionist-composers John Lane (School of Music faculty member) and guest artist, Allen Otte. Inspired by the issues related to wrongful conviction and imprisonment, The Innocents features spoken word and non-traditional instruments (rocks, pots, pans, trash cans, etc.) as percussion instruments combined with electronic audio tracks.


The evening will conclude with two pieces by composer Frederic Rzewski, Coming Together and Attica, inspired by the 1971 uprising of prison inmates of the Attica, NY Correctional Facility. Described as the bloodiest prison confrontation in American history, the riots tragically concluded with the deaths of forty-three individuals, including ten hostages. Coming Together and Attica will be performed by guest artists from Bent Frequency, an Atlanta-based contemporary music ensemble, alongside SHSU Faculty members John Lane, Amanda Pepping, Daniel Saenz, and Masahito Sugihara.


Join GCJD and the School of Music for a Meet and Greet with the panelists and performers at 6:30pm in the GPAC lobby. The main program will begin at 7:30pm. For ticket information, please call 936-294-2339.

Global Center for Journalism and Democracy
Dan Rather Communications Building, Room 201, Huntsville, TX 77340
Phone: (936) 294-4399