Boxer, Folk Figure. Born into a family of seven children, Carter was sent to a juvenile reform center at age 12 after an assault. He escaped and joined the Army in 1954, experiencing racial segregation and learning to box while in West Germany. After spending four years in various state prisons for a series of muggings, he began his pro boxing career in 1961 after his release, winning 20 of his first 24 fights mostly by stoppage. Carter boxed regularly on television at Madison Square Garden and overseas in London, Paris and Johannesburg going 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts, memorably stopping two-division champ Emile Griffith in the first round in 1963. He also fought for a middleweight title in December 1964, losing a unanimous decision to Joey Giardello. In June 1966, three white people were shot by two black men at a bar in Paterson, New Jersey. Carter and John Artis were convicted by an all-white jury largely on the testimony of two thieves who later recanted their stories. Carter wrote and spoke about his plight, publishing his autobiography, 'The Sixteenth Round' in 1974 and benefit concerts were held for his legal defense. His ordeal and the alleged racial motivations behind it were publicized in Bob Dylan's 1975 song "Hurricane". In 1976, Carter was granted a new trial and briefly freed, but sent back for nine more years after being convicted in a second trial, however he was freed in November 1985 when his convictions were set aside after years of appeals and public advocacy. In 1999, his story was told in 'The Hurricaine', a film starring Denzel Washington, who received an Academy Award nomination for playing the boxer turned prisoner. After his release, he moved to Toronto, where he served as the executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993 to 2005. Carter, who received two honorary doctorates for his work, died of prostate cancer.
Bio by: Louis du Mort