Due to technical issues, part of the conversation is missing from this recording.
On August 25, the Pulitzer Center, in partnership with MUSE (the Museum of Understanding, Storytelling, and Engagement) and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, hosted a conversation about the U.S. carceral system and the panelists’ work to shed light on its injustices. The panel at UNCSA featured playwright Sarah Shourd and actors Anthony Jefferson and John Neblett from The BOX End of Isolation Tour, as well as Phoebe Zerwick, author of Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt.
- Playwright and Pulitzer Center grantee Sarah Shourd is herself a survivor of over 400 days of solitary confinement as a political prisoner in Iran. This experience informs her work as a playwright as well as an investigative journalist and author.
- Chef and The BOX actor Anthony Jefferson spent 23 years in prison and worked in the prison kitchen before being granted parole to pursue his culinary career. “Most people in my life didn’t know about my incarceration. Acting in The BOX stripped me down, like the layers of an onion, revealing what was inside. This stripping down for me is freedom,” he said.
- The BOX actor John Neblett was imprisoned for almost 30 years and started acting with the Marin Shakespeare Company while incarcerated. He has been out of prison since 2015 and has found purpose in acting and touring with the cast and crew.
- Author Phoebe Zerwick is an award-winning investigative journalist, narrative writer, and college professor. Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt tells the true life story of Hunt, “a heroic figure, wrongly convicted at 20, exonerated at 39, and at the time of his death a tireless advocate for reform,” according to Zerwick’s bio. She teaches at Wake Forest University, a Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium partner.
Moderating the conversation is Michael Wakeford, an associate professor of history and humanities at UNCSA and the executive director of MUSE Winston-Salem.