Stedman Graham visits prison for leadership talk to inmates

August 28, 2019 - 2:45 pm

BISHOPVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Stedman Graham entered a prison for the first time in about 40 years to give South Carolina inmates a lesson on leadership and finding your purpose no matter where you are.

Graham worked in a prison in Chicago before he met his longtime partner, megastar Oprah Winfrey, in the late 1980s. But before Wednesday, he had never gone back behind the walls.

Graham spoke at Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison where seven inmates were killed in an April 2018 riot.

After the violence, crisis manager and motivational speaker Andre Norman created the Academy of Hope program. It brought together inmates who ruled prison yards across the state to learn leadership skills.

Prison officials acknowledged it was risky. But Norman says there have been zero inmate or staff assaults.

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