Racehoss: Big Emma's Boy

Racehoss: Big Emma's Boy


By (author) Albert Race Sample, Edited by Carol Sample, Introduction by Sean Hepburn Ferrer


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  • Publisher: Createspace
  • Format: Paperback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 229mm x 21mm | 626g
  • Publication date: 24 June 2014
  • ISBN 10: 1499146531
  • ISBN 13: 9781499146530
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

Doing time. Some men do it behind prison walls. Others, imprisoned from within, mark time in a life they are condemned to endure, without promise of fulfillment. Albert Race Sample seemed destined to do time one way or the other. Born in the South during the Depression, this mixed-race product of a hard-drinking black prostitute and white cotton broker emerged from an abusive childhood an angry young outcast on a straight path to the penitentiary. This is the violent and triumphant true story of his journey to hell and back. Hell for Sample was the Retrieve, a unit of the Texas State Prison system reserved for the most incorrigible black prisoners. A plantation prison where men slaved from dawn to dusk, it cracked the spirits of the weak and hardened the souls of the strong. For "Racehoss," as Sample was called, the Retrieve was a place to learn how to pick cotton or starve, and a place to witness unbearable brutality, which he describes in awesome detail in the pages of this stunning book. A profound spiritual awakening in solitary confinement changed his future dramatically. He writes, "My life was spent in darkness. And then there was Light." After seventeen years of incarceration, he was released in 1972 and soon became a prominent voice in the field of corrections and rehabilitation of ex-offenders. His ability to understand the forces that drove him to prison and his devotion to helping others also see the light of change earned him a full pardon in 1976. This autobiography is hardly the culmination of Sample's life. It is the prophecy of his soul. A natural born storyteller, he recounted his deeply moving journey of resiliency, revelation and redemption in the award-winning documentary film RACEHOSS. Produced and directed by Sean Hepburn Ferrer, this riveting one-man performance of an aged Albert Race Sample standing on a stage before an audience telling his remarkable life story is a powerful reminder that the human spirit can triumph against all odds.

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Author information

A multi-recidivist and after seventeen years of incarceration in Texas prisons, Albert Race Sample was released in 1972. He went on to become the first ex-convict in Texas to work out of the Governor's Office, to serve as a probation officer for Travis County, and to serve on the staff of the State Bar of Texas. In 1976 he appeared as one of the keynote speakers along with Barbara Jordan at the Texas Corrections Association Convention. That same year he was granted a full pardon and restoration of all civil rights. Mr. Sample received the prestigious Liberty Bell Award and numerous high-profile humanitarian awards in recognition for his work in the field of corrections and rehabilitation of ex-offenders. In 1981 he was recognized as the Outstanding Crime Prevention Citizen of Texas. His compelling interview on the Studs Terkel show won the Gold Medal in the International Radio Festival of New York. He received the Gabriel Award for outstanding achievement in broadcasting and the Angel Award from The 700 Club. Albert Race Sample resided in Austin, Texas with his wife Carol and continued writing until his death in 2005.