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Our first Father’s Day together outside Angola prison

By Mac Stewart

Malcolm Alexander and his son Mac Stewart at the 2018 Network Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo by Lacy Atkins.

I love everything about my dad Malcolm Alexander. It’s hard for me to express just how amazing he is. He is strong, hard-working, genuine, resourceful and unusually positive considering he spent the last 37 years locked up in Louisiana’s Angola prison for a rape he didn’t commit.

Sign the Father’s Day Card for Malcolm here

From the time I was two years old until January 30, 2018—when I was 40—my interactions with my dad were confined to the penitentiary visiting rooms.

Malcolm with Mac, stripe shirt, and other family members at Angola prison.

As a kid, I thought it was normal for him to be there. I was ecstatic to squeeze him, and I never wanted to leave his side. I cried each time the prison guards forced us to say goodbye.

He was an innocent man in prison, and I was a young man without a father around to support me through the best and worst of times.

As I got older, I realized that my dad’s situation was wrong. He was an innocent man in prison, and I was a young man without a father around to support me through the best and worst of times. My mom and grandma did as much as they could, but I reached a point where I became out of hand without my father to keep me balanced and on the right path.

Over the years, the four-hour commute from New Orleans to Angola grew heavier on me, and I saw how his incarceration brought my family down. My entire life, I had to hear that my father was taken from us for a stomach-churning crime he did not do. Our family, the neighborhood, the community and the other prisoners all knew he wasn’t responsible for the crime.

Three generations of Malcolms. Malcolm Alexander in the middle, his son Mac left, and grandson Malcolm right.

Now, a married man, father to my beautiful 20-year-old son Malcolm III and a business owner, I can say I have a great life. Without question, however, I know I could have made more of myself had my dad been around to raise me.

Still, through the prison walls, he taught me to be a leader, not a follower, to be strong and smart and to value the privilege of freedom.

Still, through the prison walls, he taught me to be a leader, not a follower, to be strong and smart, and to value the privilege of freedom.

You can imagine that for 37 years of life, my family exhausted all avenues to help prove my dad’s innocence. I never gave up, but I also didn’t expect to ever see him free. We had all been disappointed for decades—who was to say justice would finally be served?

The day I saw my dad walk out of Angola, I felt a boulder roll off my shoulders. I was overwhelmed with joy, love and happiness. To hug him and know that he was free symbolized a new beginning of our life together.

This Father’s Day will be no joke. As New Orleans natives, we always look for a reason to celebrate life in big ways.

This Father’s Day will be no joke. As New Orleans natives, we always look for a reason to celebrate life in big ways.

We will have 30 of our friends and family over to boil crawfish, turkey necks, corn and potatoes. We will smoke ribs and chicken and prepare jambalaya. Most of all, we will honor and appreciate my dad.

Join me in recognizing my phenomenal father, Malcolm, by signing this card.

Malcolm Alexander’s family and supporters cheer following the court hearing that cleared his name. Photo: Innocence Project.

2 Comments

  1. Michelle Moore

    You guys are all hero’s to me. I am overwhelmed. The anger of being put there in the first place….How it affected you and your family all those years. And realizing that your whole Community knew your Dad was innocent and how it affected them? Ouch That clears up some things for me and helps me understand some things. Raised in Louisiana, now in Cali, I continue to strive to understand real felt anger inspite of changes in some parts of the Nation. It is so difficult. I am so sorry for what happened to you and everyone it greatly affected.
    The love you show is beautiful? I’m very inspired. Your Dad, wow. #Hereo’s

  2. Thomas Patterson

    Great shot of the three generations. I’m very happy for all of you!

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