Tony VickTony Vick was born in 1962, in Clarksville, Tennessee, into a home of Southern Baptist parents and an older brother. His father was a barber and gospel singer, and his mother was a stay-at-home mom. Tony's parents and brother have all died during Tony's incarceration. After excelling in high school, Tony received the "Outstanding Business Student" award and a scholarship to study business at the University of Tennessee. He worked in retail sales, banking, and, at one time, owned and operated a Southern-style restaurant.
Tony entered prison twenty years ago after living thirty-four years in Freedomsville as a closeted gay man. He is currently serving two life sentences for murder. While in prison, Tony has worked as a GED teaching assistant, clerk, and prison newspaper editor. He has been involved with Inside-Out prison programs where free-world college students travel to prisons and join incarcerated students as classmates in post-secondary courses built around dialogue, collaboration and experiential learning. Between 2010 and 2014, Tony completed five semesters in Vanderbilt University's Divinity School Inside-Out program.
In 2013, Tony's essay, "Look at Me," was published in a book, Turning Teaching Inside Out: A Pedagogy of Transformation for Community-Based Education, by Simone Weil Davis and Barbara Sherr Roswell. In 2016, Tony's thoughts on forgiveness were included in Michael McRay's book, Where the River Bends: Considering Forgiveness in the Lives of Prisoners. Tony continues to write essays and poetry that challenge readers to address prison reform as one of the most important social issues of this generation.
Michael T. McRay is a writer, advocate, educator, speaker, and the author of Where the River Bends (2015). He is a former volunteer prison chaplain and close friends with Tony Vick.