I can't get within 100 yards of Denzel Washington - and believe me, I've tried. I have the restraining orders to prove it. But I got about as close as I'm going to get when I sat down with Ruben "The Hurricane" Carter at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) for their 4th annual College Explosion Workshop. I can't get within 100 yards of Denzel Washington - and believe me, I've tried. I have the restraining orders to prove it. But I got about as close as I'm going to get when I sat down with Ruben "The Hurricane" Carter at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) for their 4th annual College Explosion Workshop.
Carter was the keynote speaker. Thousands of young Black boys and girls packed the MCTC auditorium to hear the story of a man who was charged with a crime he did not commit. Decades later he was released from prison, and his story made headlines. That's when Denzel and Hollywood box office executives took notice of this remarkable man, and in 2000, the highly acclaimed box office smash "The Hurricane" premiered. Denzel was nominated for an Academy Award, and Carter's status catapulted him to national celebrity.
I couldn't let him come through the Twin Cities and not sit down to chat with me about his life, his legacy and the misery that became his ministry.
SHELETTA BRUNDIDGE: Tell me about Ruben Hurricane Carter.
RUBEN HURRICANE CARTER: How much time do we have? You can't capsulate my life story in an eight minute interview. Already there's been movies and songs and four books and I have another book coming out called Ruben, The Way of The One Eyed Man. I've had a wonderful life, a marvelous life and found out through that this planet earth is wonderful and marvelous. Not with standing sleeping people - pain, sorrow and death. This planet earth is a fantasy island. Whatever you can conceive in your mind and believe, with a lot of work, can be achieved. My being here today proves that. So every day of my life is a wonderful day. It's a gift, and I use it to the maximum.
SB: What do you tell young people when you talk to them?
RHC: I talk to young people, makes no difference who they are, to tell them that they must dare to dream. Because without the dream, nothing can be different. Once you can visualize it, you have an aim or a direction in which way you can go. You can accomplish that. That's what I wanted young people to really understand.
SB: When you were in prison for murder, a crime you later were acquitted of, did you give up hope?
RHC: If I gave up hope for one second, I would not be sitting here with you today. I went to prison for a thing I did not do. So my introduction into the prison was different than someone who actually committed a crime. When I was in prison, I refused to act like a criminal. I refused to act guilty. I wouldn't wear their clothes, or eat their food or do their jobs. 'Cause everything about the prison is for the prison and not for me.
SB: When I looked around the auditorium during your speech, every student in there was captivated by your words. Did you ever know that the prison cell would catapult you to your ministry or your purpose in life?
RHC: That's a difficult question. When I was in prison all I wanted to do was survive. I was dealing with the here and now because that was most important to me. But that's what the magic is all about. Forty-one years later I'm a double doctor and I talk to children. Life is wonderful; you really got to enjoy it.
SB: How was it having Denzel Washington portray you in a movie?
RHC: My life has been such that I have had books written about me, songs written about me, all while I am alive. That is miraculous, my life is a miracle, and that's the way I live it and that's what I try to give to other people. They are as miraculous as this planet earth is.