Carter raged against his imprisonment and refused to cooperate. He shunned the prison's food, insisted on keeping his ornate gold watch, and refused to don prison clothes, even after a hellish 90 days in the "hole", where his own clothes literally rotted off him. He became
Carter was stationed in Germany where he developed an interest in boxing. However, he was courtmarshalled four times and, in May 1956, was discharged as "unfit for military service". When he returned to New Jersey, Carter was picked up and made to serve an extra ten months for his escape. Soon after being released, he was arrested again for assault and robbery, to which e pleaded guilty and was imprisoned in the maximum security Trenton State Prison for the next four years. He spent his time polishing his boxing skills and turned professional when he left prison in 1961.
Exactly a year later Carter lost the World Middleweight Championship to Joey Giardello on points although many believed Carter should have won. Both were given honorary championship title belts by the World
In 1963, Carter was regarded as one of the Top 10 middleweights after beating some well respected boxers. After flooring Emile Griffith (a past and future world champion) twice in the first round, his reputation soared.
After 6 more fights in 1966, an event occurred that changed The Hurricane's life for ever.........
Carter boxed as a middleweight, and although only average height, he was solidly built and his shaven head and large moustache, gave him an intimidating presence in the ring. He was aggressive, had a powerful punch that brought many early-round knockouts and quickly became a favourite of the crowds who nicknamed him 'The Hurricane'.
Rubin Carter was born in 1937 in Paterson, New Jersey, one of seven children. He was something of a rebel and had a criminal record at the age of fourteen. He was sent to a 'reformatory' for assault and robbery, but escaped when he
In 1965, Carter lost four of his nine fights, including one to Dick Tiger which he described as "the worst beating that I took in my life - inside or outside of the ring".
On June 17, 1966, two black men strode into the Lafayette Grill, in racially-mixed Paterson, New Jersey, and shot three people to death. Rubin Carter and his young acquaintance John Artis were quickly arrested and later convicted of the murders in a highly publicised and racially charged trial.
Carter was freed pending a new trial but, to many people's astonishment, he landed back in prison after losing his appeal. He languished there, avoiding almost all human contact, until in 1980 he received a letter from Lesra Martin, a black teenager raised in a Brooklyn
They increased their efforts after the summer of 1983, working in New York with Carter’s legal defense team to seek a writ of 'habeas corpus' from U.S. District Court Judge Lee Sarokin. On 7th November 1985,
After his release, Carter moved to Toronto, to the home of the group that had worked to free him and eventually married Lisa Peters. He worked with Chaiton and Swinton on a book Lazarus and the Hurricane (1991).
In 1999, Rubin Carter's story gained worldwide interest with the relase of the film The Hurricane. It was directed by Norman Jewison and starred Denzel Washington who won a Golden Globe Award as 'best actor' for his role as Carter. The film has its own website (see link below) where you can find lots of interesting background to the making of
I thought the film The Hurricane was absolutely superb with Denzel Washigton outstanding as Carter. There has however been a lot of debate about how close the film was to the truth about the Lafayette Grill shooting, and I have added several links below which give the other side of the story. After meeting The Hurricane I want to believe that he is innocent - but that is what you must decide for yourself!
I met the boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter at the NEC in Birmingham in November 2007.
His story is an amazing one because he spent 22 years in an American prison for a crime he didn't commit. It was made into a superb film with Denzel Washington as Carter.
Lesra Martin's story is interesting in its own right and I have included a link to his website where you can find out more about him.
He signed a lovely photograph for me which shows him knocking his opponent across the ropes
was 17 and joined the army.
something of a 'prison lawyer, poring over the transcript of his trial. Over the next ten years, Carter amassed convincing evidence of his innocence and had the support of celebrities like Muhammed Ali and Bob Dylan who wrote a song called "Hurricane".
ghetto. Martin was living with three Canadians who had formed a commune and had taken on the responsibilities for his education. He had been inspired to learn to read using Carter's autobiography The 16th Round. Carter agreed to meet with Martin, thus taking the first step on the long road back into the world. Lesra Martin introduced Carter to the Canadians, Sam Chaiton, Terry Swinton and Lisa Peters, who all began to work for his release.
Boxing Council in 1993. Carter has also received a WBA belt.
Sarokin decided to free Carter on the grounds that “the convictions were predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure.” The state challenged the ruling all the way to the US Supreme Court but, in February 1988, the 1966 indictments were
dismissed and Carter was a free man.
Rubin Carter wrote his
autobiography in prison
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter with his WBC
and WBA prize belts
Denzel Washington and Norman Jewison
Rubin Carter & Denzel Washington at the
Golden Globe Awards ceremony in 2000
Judge Lee Sarokin
The three Canadians in the film The Hurricane
Prison scene from The Hurricane
Denzel Washington as Carter in The Hurricane
Rubin Carter in prison in 1975
Bob Dylan visits Rubin Carter in prison
From the film The Hurricane
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter (left) and
John Artis after their arrest
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter is floored
by Dick Tiger in 1965
Rubin Carter in action against Emile Griffith
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter
Rubin Carter signing my photograph
Rubin Carter signed this photograph for me. It shows him
knocking out the Cuban boxer Florentino Fernandez at the
Madison Square Gardens in New York in October 1962
the film. The Hurricane is based
on Carter's 1974 autobiography, also Chaiton & Swinton's Lazarus and the Hurricane (republished in 1999). James S Hirsch's new biography, Hurricane:The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter was published in 2000.
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter (1937 - 2014)
Click on a name below to take you to that page
Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter died in Toronto, Canada, on 20th April 2014.