Meet Keith

On November 16, 2023, the State of Ohio intends to murder an innocent man. Indeed, that is the day they've determined they will strap down to a gurney and pump poison into Keith LaMar. They know he is innocent; after all, they were the ones who withheld all the eyewitness statements and confessions that could have helped him at trial following the 1993 Lucasville Prison Uprising. For the past 27 years, Keith has maintained his innocence from solitary confinement, researching and studying his case from inside a steel cage the size of a closet. In spite of being unable to touch grass or feel the wind against his skin, Keith LaMar has cultivated a beautifully perceptive understanding about life and the system that railroaded him. 
 

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One of the best ways to get to know Keith better is by hearing and reading him in his own words: 

Podcasts/Radio

The 730 Podcast with Wali White

Episode 20: Love is the Only Freedom
calls in to discuss what it was like growing up inner-city Cleveland and how he ended up in the juvenile justice system at the age of 13; how Richard Wright gave his life meaning; what he learned about himself while partaking in a 12-day prison hunger strike; and how he's maintained his sanity despite being in solitary confinement for 27 years.

Pieces of a Man together with Brian Jackson

Episode 1: Supreme Independence

Listen to Keith and Brian  talk about the aftermath of one of the most unusual Independence Days ever and the continued disconnect between African-Americans and the holiday. They wind up on a more serene note discussing how the healing music of John Coltrane has inspired generations to reach within for the best of themselves, whether musicals or spiritually.

Episode 2: Native Songs

Here the duo turns to Keith's efforts to free himself from an  unlawful conviction and how he has maintained his sanity having been on death row and solitary confinement for 27 years. Brian answers some questions about whether or not he feels playing messages that for decades went unheeded was worth it in the end.

Episode 3: Soul Reparations

In this episode, Keith and Brian unpack the "Case for Reparations" and a song that asks an unanswerable question.

Episode 4: Forget...Improvise
Keith turns the tables on Brian and gets him to spill the beans about his early life, how he found his musical path and the partnership that led him to be the bearer of a nearly 50-year legacy.

Final Straw Radio -- April 2020

This interview covers so much ground, from Keith's early years growing up in The Village, to his response to systemic oppression by developing his political voice, from navigating the rigors of being railroaded and sent to death row, to arriving at a place of living with deep purpose even from within the walls of solitary confinement... If you have been meaning to read Condemned but never got around to it, take a listen.

Speech to The Racial Justice Summit, Pittsburgh – January 2020 

 

Publications/Writings

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Keith holding a painting he did from Solitary Confinement, one he spent 120 hours to 

complete. 

It's important to know that the magnitude of Keith LaMar's presence on this earth cannot be contained by this death sentence he carries. In spite of being made to suffer inhumane conditions these three decades, he has continued to pour love and knowledge on friends and strangers alike, inspiring them to find ways to live their lives with purpose. He has founded the Native Sons Literacy Project to help kids caught up in the school-to-prison pipeline discover that reading will open doors they never could imagine. Through his efforts, Keith has been able to get hundreds of meaningful books in the hands of at-risk juveniles, books such as Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me, Richard Wright's Black Boy, and Shaka Senghor's Writing My Wrongs. He exchanges calls and letters with high school and college classes, inspiring people to live their most meaningful lives while they yet can. Even from one of the most awful places imaginable, he is shining a light into the darkness. That will be Keith LaMar's legacy, no matter the outcome of his most critical situation.

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© 2020 Justice for Keith LaMar