CHASS Distinguished Speaker Series presents Infinite Hope
SAN ANTONIO • The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) recently presented this year’s CHASS Distinguished Speaker Anthony Graves, an exonerated former death row prisoner turned author and advocate of restorative justice.
One Sunday morning in August 1992, police pulled up outside Graves Texas’ home and set in motion one of the most well-known cases of wrongful conviction in the state. Convicted of murder and incarcerated for more than 18 years –12 of which were spent on death row — he endured terrible conditions and solitary confinement.
Now, more than 26 years after his ordeal began, Graves speaks about his experiences, the need for meaningful criminal justice reform and the work done toward that end by The Anthony Graves Foundation. This year, he also published Infinite Hope: How Wrongful Conviction, Solitary Confinement, and 12 Years on Death Row Failed to Kill My Soul.
“The CHASS Distinguished Speaker Series speaks to the Mission of the University and to restorative justice, which is the focus of our Criminal Justice program and one of the today’s most important issues,” said Dr. Kevin Vichcales, dean of CHASS. “We want to spark a meaningful dialogue about justice, race relations and building community. Anthony Graves’ case speaks to those issues and to the ideals of equity and impartiality that we expect to have in our criminal justice system.”
The lecture is the result of a collaborative effort by members of CHASS faculty including Vichcales, Dr. Roger Barnes, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, and Dr. Emily Clark, professor and chair of the Department of English, who will introduce Graves at the event.
UIW students explored Graves’ story not only through the lecture, but through in-class activities that challenge them to consider justice, the legal process and failures within those systems.
Anthony Graves joined last year’s lecturer Devery S. Anderson, author of Emmet Till: The Murder that Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement, as a CHASS Distinguished Speaker.
Sponsored by the departments of English, Criminal Justice and Sociology in CHASS, the one-night-only lecture took place Sept. 12 in the UIW Concert Hall. Books were available for purchase and author signing.