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Kemba Smith

About the Speaker:

Growing up as an only child in Richmond, Virginia, Kemba Smith graduated high school and continued her education at the prestigious Hampton University. What happened to her in her new campus environment was a nightmare, and led to a 24.5-year sentence in a federal prison. In December 2000, after serving 6.5 years, President Clinton commuted her sentence to time served. Kemba shares her traumatic real life experience in her book, “Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story.” .

She believes in sharing her story as an educational tool to prevent other youth from going down a similar path. Ultimately, Kemba knows that there is a lesson in each experience in life, and she has embraced her experience, learned from it, and is now using that experience to teach others.


Book Description

Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story- In this long-awaited memoir, Kemba Smith shares her dramatic story, as it has never been told. Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story chronicles how she went from college student to drug dealer's girlfriend to domestic violence victim to federal prisoner. Kemba shares her story of how making poor choices blinded by love and devotion can have long-term consequences. In 1994, Kemba was sentenced to a mandatory 24 1/2 years in federal prison, with no chance for parole, despite being a first-time, non-violent offender. Fortunately, she regained her freedom when President Clinton granted her executive clemency in December 2000 after having served 6 1/2 years. Kemba's case drew support from across the nation and the world. Often being labeled the "poster child" for the campaign to reverse a disturbing trend in the rise of lengthy sentences for first-time, non-violent drug offenders, Kemba's story has been featured on CNN, Court TV, "Nightline," "Judge Hatchett," "The Early Morning Show" and a host of other television programs.

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