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Thu, 05.05.2005

Lena Baker is pardoned

On this date in 2005, Lena Baker, a Black woman, was pardoned posthumously for a murder of self defense.

In 1944, Baker was sentenced to death in Randolph County for murder. She is the only woman ever put to death in Georgia's electric chair. Baker had been a maid in the household of white employer E. B. Knight.  She allegedly killed Knight because he threatened her at a Cuthbert Grist mill. An all-white jury convicted her in a one-day trial.

Sixty years later, in 2005, Georgia's pardon and parole board ruled a "grievous error" occurred when she was denied clemency in 1945. The board decided mercy was in order in such a case. In the years before the pardon, Baker's family had lobbied publicly for the pardon.

Reference:

The Guardian.com

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