March 6, 1999
I am a black man of significant value. My deepest wish is simply to live as a human being. I wish to work with at-risk young children, join in the struggle to end this racist death penalty in the United States, and most importantly, develop a human relationship with my children, family, and friends which 10 years in Pennsylvania's super max prison has taken from me by cruel design.
I want to live because I am innocent of the crime for which I am convicted. You try and figure out how an innocent black man can end up on death row. I have asked a number of attorneys and friends this question, read many articles and have experienced first hand this penal system. The conclusions I have come to make me sick, because the indigent, uneducated, inarticulate black or white man without advocacy is at the bottom of the barrel, with the current government working only to protect its image at their expense.
If an accused black man has an incompetent attorney at trial or the attorney fails to file essential documents, then - "well its just too bad", and we say "case closed". It doesn't make much difference whether the accused is innocent or guilty; the police and prosecutors get a conviction, the attorneys and victims family gets "closure", and the system gets to say "We're tough on crime !".
Whether or not one is actually guilty or not, we inmates are completely abandoned to our fate. I was blamed and framed for the mistakes of others, and now I stand as a scapegoat of this racist society, a scapegoat of a country that is looking for, searching for, scapegoats and making it easier for the state to kill black and white people illegally through execution. In this racist society you don't even have to kill anyone to find youself on death row - waiting to be killed.
I realize that most of America is living comfortable middle class lives, sealed off from the realities of the poor and oppressed. I know that most of them don't care about ending the death penalty, don't want to believe that this country, which promises liberty and justice for all, could fail so many of its citizens.
You, the people, need to take a good hard look at the present day criminal justice system. You need to see the suffering and injustice that abounds in prison. You need to recognize the role of money and racism in capital punishment and the public indifference that sends innocent people to their deaths.
In Struggle and Fighting Back,
Harold Wilson BC-1712
175 Progress Drive.
Wilson wrote to the CCADP in March 1999 seeking
assistance when he was still on Pennsylvania's Death Row.
HAROLD WILSON IS 122nd DEATH ROW INMATE FREED
After 16 years, acquitted of all charges. Read news about his release.
INFORMATION FROM DEATH PENALTY INFORMATION CENTER
Click HERE to read poetry by Harold Wilson
Click HERE to read Philadelphia Spotlight 2000 by Harold Wilson
The CCADP offers free webpages to over 500 Death Row Prisoners
Contact us for more information.
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