A Courageous Fool - Author Talk with Todd C. Peppers and Margaret A. Anderson
There have been many heroes and victims in the battle to abolish the death penalty, and Marie Deans fits into both of those categories. A South Carolina native who yearned to be a fiction writer, Marie was thrust by a combination of circumstances―including the murder of her beloved mother-in-law―into a world much stranger than fiction, a world in which minorities and the poor were selected to be sacrificed to what Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun called the "machinery of death."
Marie found herself fighting to bring justice to the legal process and to bring humanity not only to prisoners on death row but to the guards and wardens as well. During Marie's time as a death penalty opponent in South Carolina and Virginia, she experienced the highs of helping exonerate the innocent and the lows of standing death watch in the death house with thirty-four condemned men.
"Some say I've done a thing or two for human rights, but next to Marie Deans I'm a pale little wimp. She and I believed in the same kind of scrappy Jesus. Marie used to say, 'Faith? What good is it if you don't put it to work like hell for justice?' Marie wasn't a lawyer, but that didn't stop her from learning the Constitution on her own so she could fight smart for the rights of her clients.
Marie's soul was so wide.
Her spirit so truthful.
Her being so passionate and generous.
Her language so salty and her humor so outrageous. All of which kept me sane through many a tortuous ordeal.
Thank God we have this book so others can meet her and love her, too."
―Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of Dead Man Walking