Jan 26, 2007
Harold C. Wilson is still fighting -- even though he's been 'free' since November 2005. He's been off Death Row since his acquittal on *three* counts of murder by a Philadelphia jury on retrial.
DNA evidence proved his innocence of the crimes, after 17 years on Death Row -- years that have left him almost broken in health, but not in mind.
He's fighting these days to teach people what the death penalty really means -- not in theory, but in fact.
He's been forced to work to build the Harold C. Wilson Foundation, to create awareness about what it means for people to live on Death Row, how easily prosecutors and judges can railroad people there, and also to impact public policy about how those who are exonerated should be meaningfully remunerated upon their release.
Speaking recently at a panel discussion on the death penalty at Philadelphia's Drexel University, Wilson explained:
"My life was gone, and no one in the system cared about my innocence. Even when one tries to fight for the rights one is granted by the Constitution, you are immediately beaten down mentally ...." [Qari, Ali, "Death penalty 'is not a simple question'," The Triangle (Nov. 10, 2006).]
In describing his experiences Wilson told those assembled:
"Imagine your hands and your feet chained whenever you left your room. Imagine living in a room the size of your standard bathroom. Imagine being told you could only shower twice a week. Imagine seeing bodies bloodied and beaten before you. I do not have to imagine. I lived it for 17 years." [Ibid.]
Harold C. Wilson is working to build his foundation, not just to teach folks about the horrors of Death Row, but because he hasn't been able to get a real job since his release. In part, that's because of his health problems spawned by living so many years in cold cells on bare concrete. It's also because potential employers can't get past his three murder convictions -- as if the acquittals don't really matter!
He therefore has had to grab the bull by the horns, and engage in public speaking about the worst years in his life, instead of private employment, where he could try to rebuild what's left of his life and family.
Wilson returned to a world with an elderly mother, a son in Iraq (who has since re-enlisted!), and a daughter who works -- in of all places -- as a *prison guard* -- in another state.
If you want to know about life on America's Death Row, Harold Wilson is quite able to tell you, or your group.
Contact the Harold C. Wilson Foundation, at:
Ph.#: (215) 834-4676
Mail: P.O. Box 32084, Phila., PA 19146
Copyright 2007 Mumia Abu-Jamal