Quite a few years ago, I learned of the unjust incarceration of Jarvis Masters at San Quentin. I’ve attended various hearings at the courthouse where we sit quietly to support the intention to let him go. I was thinking of him yesterday and then today I come to Rebecca Solnit’s words on why it’s important to read his book. I recommend it as we immerse in this season of love and light.
Jarvis Masters’s memoir That Bird Has My Wings: The Autobiography of an Innocent Man on Death Row is a gripping, lyrical, heartbreaking account of how a black child full of hope and love, born into poverty and racism, was criminalized for running away from abuse, abused in juvenile prisons, set on the path to adult prison, and how once there he was framed for participation in a murder that has stranded him on death row for thirty years. And it’s also the story of how, there, he became a generous, compassionate, and creative person as well as a writer of great power.
–Rebecca Solnit, author of Recollections of My Nonexistence (March 2020)