Poster Child by Kemba Smith

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About 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.
Kemba’s case drew support from across the nation and the world. The support prompted then President Clinton to commute her 24.5 years sentence to time served – six and a half years – in December, 2000.
Often labeled the “poster child” for reversing a disturbing trend in the rise of lengthy sentences for first-time, non-violent drug offenders, Kemba’s story has been featured on BET, CNN, Nightline, “Judge Hatchett,” Court TV, “The Early Morning Show; and a host of other television programs. In addition, Kemba’s story has been featured in several publications such as Emerge, JET, Essence, Glamour, People magazines, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

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“As part of the media strategy for my clemency campaign, several televised and print media were responding to my story, including Nightline, BET, MTV, and The View. My story ultimately showed up in at least thirty publications and national radio programs, and my parents or I were featured speakers in programs on at least forty college campuses. I did several television interviews while I was in prison, and my parents traveled around the country to educate people about the real effects of the War on Drugs. We were quickly emerging as vocal mouthpieces against mandatory minimums. I really was the “poster child,” although it seemed to result in more press than victory in the courts…”



“Kemba Smith Tells It All…self-published book by college kid-gone-wild turned drug sentencing reform advocate, Kemba Smith, is providing an instructive, eye-opening look at how poor life choices can squander the future of an otherwise promising young middle class woman. “Poster Child,” retraces in vivid detail how Smith, then a freshman at Hampton University, met and eventually became romantically involved with a violent drug dealer who used and abused her. It was a relationship that eventually lead to her being sentenced to 24 ½ years in federal prison with no chance for parole as a result of her involvement with the man..” – Reginald Stuart, The Tennessee Tribune