This afternoon of NPR ATC, from Radio Diaries, “Willie McGee and the Traveling Electric Chair:”
In 1945, Willie McGee was accused of raping a white woman. The all-white jury took less than three minutes to find him guilty and McGee was sentenced to death. Over the next six years, the case went through three trials and sparked international protests and appeals from Albert Einstein, William Faulkner, Paul Robeson, and Josephine Baker. McGee was defended by a young Bella Abzug arguing her first major case. But in 1951, McGee was put to death in Mississippi’s traveling electric chair. His execution was broadcast live by a local radio station. Today, a newly discovered recording of that broadcast provides a chilling window into a lost episode of civil rights history. Narrated by granddaughter Bridgette McGee, this documentary follows a her search for the truth about a case that has been called a real-life To Kill A Mockingbird.
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