In his March 15 column “Hunt’s dignity will be missed,” Barry Saunders heaps the same bland praise on Darryl Hunt that we hear about so many exonerees: He wasn’t angry. This seems to be our saintly ideal of a person who has endured wrongful imprisonment. Someone who is gracious, forgiving and definitely not angry. Yes, Darryl was gentle and soft-spoken. He had an easy smile. He professed to have forgiven those who fought for his imprisonment even long after his innocence was clear.
But please don’t remember Hunt as a saint who smiled beatifically in the face of a great wrong. Remember him as someone who saw the unfairness of our criminal justice system up close and was appalled. As someone who, rather than ranting and raging, channeled his righteous anger into work that made a lasting difference. Remember him traveling across North Carolina and the nation, touching countless hearts with his story. Remember him advocating for the wrongly imprisoned, rallying for racial justice, fighting to end the death penalty.
Hunt survived one of the worst crimes a human can endure, the theft of his freedom, and came out on the other side with a fire inside him, burning for justice.