In 1966, in Paterson, New Jersey, John Artis, 19, had a promising future. He was an athlete, Boy Scout, altar boy and a college scholarship recipient
He was an African American man driving a white car with Rubin “Hurricane” Carter the same night three people were killed by two other African American men driving the same color car. The only evidence brought against Artis and Carter was presented by a criminal whose testimony earned him $10,000 in rewards and a light…
He was an African American man driving a white car with Rubin “Hurricane” Carter the same night three people were killed by two other African American men driving the same color car. The only evidence brought against Artis and Carter was presented by a criminal whose testimony earned him $10,000 in rewards and a light sentence. John Artis was sentenced to three concurrent life terms at Rahway Prison with a chance for parole after 15 years.
Perhaps the most shocking part of this story is not that two African American men were wrongly convicted by an all white jury on a shoestring prosecution, but what occurred afterwards. In prison, Artis began teaching Adult Education classes, helping hundreds of men get their GEDs, and become literate. He also became Vice President of the Lifers program, and it was his division that originated the program, Scared Straight. Artis was President of the prison’s branch of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, believing it was his responsibility to actively participate in government. As a prisoner representative, he aired the grievances of prisoners to the guards; attaining small reforms. In 1971, after a riot where guards were taken hostage, Artis convinced the inmates to release the guards. For that accomplishment, Artis was transferred from a maximum-security prison to a minimum security facility where he attended Glassboro State College and earned a degree in Business Administration.
In 1975 the police told Artis they knew he was innocent and all he had to do was testify that Carter committed the murders and he would be set free. Artis would not lie. He was sent back to prison for six more years. On December 22, 1981, after 15 years, he was freed on parole.
After his release, Artis knew his passion lay with helping young people find direction. He spent two years working at the Pines Residential Center with molested kids who started molesting others. From there, he went to a group home in Norfolk, Virginia, where he taught the children to appreciate life and to plan for the future. Presently, he works at a detention center as a counselor in Norfolk. He counsels kids on the downfalls of drug use, gang membership, and the importance of education. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter calls him a hero, the kids think of him as a savior and his audiences think he is an inspiration.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
Justice & the Legal System: Where Do We Go From Here?
A Conversation With John Artis
John Artis and Rubin "Hurricane" Carter wrongfully convicted, now standing for Innocence Canada
1 HOUR OR LESS