Lesra Martin drew courage from The Sixteenth Round, an autobiography by Rubin Carter, who was wrongfully imprisoned for three 1966 murders. Martin began writing to Carter, trying to help win Carter’s freedom, which led to the 1992 book Lazarus and The Hurricane and the 1999 feature film The Hurricane. Since The Hurricane was released, Martin has become a motivational speaker.
Attorney and motivational speaker Lesra Martin was born in 1963, in Bushwick, New York. Martin was raised in the dangerous ghetto of Bushwick, New York. He was the second eldest son of eight children, and by the age of 10 he was bagging groceries to help support the family. His older brother had been swept up by gang and street life, and despite fierce devotion from his family, Martin was in danger of following the same path.
In July 1979, a chance encounter changed the course of Martin?s life. While taking the subway to Brooklyn for a summer job, he befriended a group of Canadian entrepreneurs who were impressed by the young boy's potential. At their behest, the boy arrived in Toronto that fall, and began a journey to fight the illiteracy and self-doubt that were the marks of ghetto life.
During his time in Toronto, Martin drew courage from The Sixteenth Round, an autobiography by Rubin Carter, who was wrongfully imprisoned for the 1966 murders of three New Jersey residents. Martin began writing to Carter, which eventually led to a five-year fight to help win Carter?s freedom. The story resulted in the 1992 book Lazarus and The Hurricane and the 1999 feature film The Hurricane.
In 1983, Martin graduated as an Ontario Scholar, completing his BA in anthropology at the University of Toronto in 1988. In 1997, he earned his law degree from Dalhousie Law School and served as Crown Prosecutor in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Since The Hurricane was released, Martin has received national attention, inspiring him to embark on a career as a motivational speaker. He has appeared before the United Nations, as well as many national, community and corporate groups and literacy foundations to speak about his experiences and the devastating effects of illiteracy.
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