The organizer and former Black Panther member was born to a white mother and black father in the South. When he was six years old, he was adopted by a black family in California. His mother sent him away for his own safety, but he never understood why, and grew up feeling abandoned. At 17 he was sent to prison after killing a man during an aborted mugging. In prison he met George Jackson who changed his life by exposing him to the teachings of the Black Panther movement. Spain became a leader in the Black Panther Movement in prison.
Michael Tonry is a professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota. His new book, Malign Neglect: Race Crime, and Punishment in America, discusses how our current approach to fighting crime victimizes disadvantaged black Americans. He calls for a reform of sentencing and parole policies.