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The Nancy & Paul O'Neill Speaker Series presents 

Anthony Ray Hinton



We were honored to have Mr. Hinton share his story and time with us in September 2023, and with 400 people in attendance – our largest Speaker Series event – we hope that his messages of hope and determination made an impact.

If you missed out on the event, we welcome you to watch the entire production.

We hope you join us for the next Speaker Series in 2025!




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The Author  |  Anthony Ray Hinton

Anthony Ray Hinton survived for 30 years on Alabama's death row. His story is a decades-long journey to exoneration and freedom. In 1985, Mr. Hinton was convicted of the unsolved murders of two fast-food restaurant managers based on the testimony of ballistics experts for the State who claimed that the crime bullets came from a dusty revolver found in Mr. Hinton's mother’s closet. Without the benefit of a competent expert to challenge the State’s theory (Mr. Hinton’s lawyer hired a ballistics expert who was blind in one eye), an all-white jury convicted Mr. Hinton and he was sentenced to death. After years of petitioning to have the revolver re-analyzed, three independent experts concluded that the bullets could not have been fired from his mother’s revolver. With the assistance of the Equal Justice Initiative, led by attorney Bryan Stevenson, Mr. Hinton was freed in 2015. Since his release, Mr. Hinton has traveled the world sharing his story and discussing the changes that need to be made to prevent similar injustices from happening to other people. In 2018, Mr. Hinton published The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, which was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and is a New York Times bestseller. In 2019, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Bonaventure University.

The Book  |  The Sun Does Shine

In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years, he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015.

The Nancy & Paul O’Neill Speaker Series

The Neighborhood Academy is a college preparatory school grades 6-12 whose mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty through education. The Nancy & Paul O’Neill Speaker Series began in 2013 and is a platform for renowned authors to present and share works that not only describe the Black experience in America, but also challenge all of us to see the world through The Neighborhood Academy’s students’ eyes.

Previous speakers include Ron Suskind, author of A Hope of the Unseen; Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns; Margo Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures; Mark Whitaker, author of Smoketown; and Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore and Five Days.

Any questions about the event can be directed to Jonathan Winkler, Marketing and Events Manager, at or 412-203-0158.



-Presenting Sponsor-


The Nancy & Paul O'Neill Family



-Gold Sponsor-


-Silver Sponsor-


-Bronze Sponsors-







-Bulldog Sponsors-


Carnegie Mellon University

Dentons Cohen & Grigsby

Dollar Bank


Federated Hermes


The Gismondi Family Fund

Joe Wilson & Sarah Williams Wilson


Peter & Alice Leone


Smithfield Trust Company

The Wilson Group

TriState Capital Bank

Wendy & D. Bryant Mitchell



-Supporting Sponsors-
Allegheny Technologies Incorporated

Bordas & Bordas Attorneys

Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote

Difenderfer, Rothman, Haber & Mancuso 

Kontos, Mengine, Killion & Hassen


Sheila A. Washington

Tucker Arensberg

Urban Redevelopment Authority