Wilbert Rideau

Wilbert Rideau was editor of The Angolite, a prison newsmagazine that during his tenure was nominated seven times for a National Magazine Award. While in prison, he was a correspondent for NPR’s Fresh Air; coproduced and narrated a radio documentary, “Tossing Away the Keys,” for NPR’s All Things Considered; collaborated on “In for Life” for ABC-TV’s Day One; and codirected the Academy Award–nominated film The Farm: Angola, USA. He is the recipient of a George Polk Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, among others. He was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship in 2007 and works as a consultant with the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project. He lives in Louisiana.

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In 1961 Lake Charles, Louisiana, a 19-year-old black man named Wilbert Rideau robbed a bank.

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Wilbert Rideau, a black man unjustly sentenced to death when he was nineteen for having killed a white woman in a botched bank robbery in 1961, spent 44 years in Louisiana prisons, the most notorio