Cynthia Caldwell, Freedom Fighter

On September 12, 1995, Cynthia Caldwell was arrested for chaining herself to the steps of the Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan. This was part of her "One Woman's March," a counterpart to the Million Man March which ultimately took place in Washington, DC on October 16, 1995. She was sentenced to 15 days in jail for trespassing. During her stay in jail she was on a hunger strike to protest the plight of her husband, Floyd Caldwell. Now that she is out, she continues to seek justice for Mr. Caldwell.

Floyd Caldwell was wrongly convicted in 1975 of a robbery, after the victims had already picked out someone else as the criminal. He did not match the descriptions originally given to police. During the lineups, one of the people who identified him at trial told police he was not the guilty party.

Cynthia Caldwell, a 55 year old mother of 8 and grandmother of 11, comes from Muskegon, Michigan. As a white woman who chose to marry (on October 16, 1987) a black man who is in prison, she has faced all the frustrations of a racist justice system and racist corrections system for many years. She frequently seeks outside help for Floyd, and those people often contact the Michigan Department of Corrections. After they do so, people who have promised to help Floyd generally lose interest.

Whenever an outsider inquires about her husband, the Michigan Department of Corrections releases information, mostly false, about her husband, and then transfers him to another prison so they don't have to deal with it. He has been falsely labeled a "known homosexual," "known drug and alcohol addict" and "been in mental hospitals." An incident where he was stabbed by another prisoner is routinely misreported as an incident where he had a knife. He has suffered a great deal of harassment from Department of Corrections officials.

When Cynthia was in court on a child custody matter, the judge severely criticized her for her choice of husband, and said that alone was a reason for denying her custody of children she gave birth to and cared for their whole lives.

Because she is a weightlifter who has successfully run 6 marathons, and has survived 8 years of marriage under the most trying of circumstances, she feels she has the stamina to see this through.

Although numerous news crews including photographers from Detroit were present at the State Capitol September 12, 1995, and saw and photographed her, her protest was unreported in all Detroit area newspapers, and was unreported on Detroit area tv. There was some coverage in Lansing and some western Michigan media outlets.

To this day Cynthia proudly wears her jail ID band on her wrist as a badge of honor.

Cynthia underwent a 21 day fast from May 23 through June 12, 1996, in memory of Floyd Caldwell's (then) 21 years of wrongful incarceration. She will not give up until Floyd is free.

Cynthia's efforts to get justice for her husband rest in the hands of Michigan Governor John Engler. Gov. Engler, a Republican, has done justice for a black prisoner before, and hopefully will have the courage to do it again this time. Letters of support for Floyd and Cynthia, or contributions to the Floyd Caldwell Defense Fund, may be sent to: Cynthia Caldwell, 878 E. Forest Street, Muskegon, MI, 49442.

Let Governor Engler know how you feel about the Floyd Caldwell case. Send e-mail to Governor John Engler at MIGOV@Mail.State.MI.US, or send regular mail to: Governor John Engler, P.O. Box 30013, Lansing MI 48933.

Return to the Floyd Caldwell Story.