The story of George stinney jr. (black history 365)

This story for this entry of Black History 365 is disheartening and astounding in terms of the duration of the outcome.  Leave a like and follow so you can stay up to date with my future posts.

The year is 1944 in South Carolina and George Stinney Jr. finds himself interrogated by Alcolu South Carolina police for the murder of two white girls. Within a span of two days, his life was in the balance and the outcome was something all too familiar in the Jim Crow South. 

Introduction 

George Stinney Jr. was only 14yrs old when he was executed in South Carolina in 1944. It took 10 minutes to convict him and 70 years to exonerate him. Equally important, he was the youngest person in the U.S. to be executed via the electric chair. 

George Stinney Jr. grew up in Alcolu South Carolina where white people and black people were separated by railroad tracks. Stinney’s family lived in a humble company house until they were forced to leave when the boy was accused of killing two white girls. In March 1944, Betty June Binnicker (11), and Mary Emma Thames (7), were riding their bicycles in Alcolu looking for flowers. They came across Stinney and his sister Aime on their journey and stopped to ask for help finding maypops, the yellow edible fruit of passion fruits. That was the last reported time the girls were seen alive. Consequently, hundreds of Alcolu residents, including Stinney’s father, came together to search for the missing girls. It wasn’t until the next day their dead bodies were discovered in a soggy ditch. 

Their bodies were examined by Dr. Asbury Cecil Bozard and the conclusions found were that there was no clear sign of a struggle, but both girls had met their demise due to multiple head injuries. Thames had a hole boring straight through her forehead and into her skull along with a two-inch long cut above her right eyebrow. On the other hand, Binnicker had suffered at least seven blows to the head. It was later noted that the back of her skull was “nothing but a mass of crushed bones”. Moreover, the girls were killed by what was described to be a “round instrument”. This is where the story takes a strange turn. The girls were rumored to be not anywhere near Stinney Jr. and his sister, but at a prominent white family’s home on the day of the murder. It must be remembered, that Stinney Jr. like many other black men during the Jim Crow era, were never innocent and always seen as guilty, so tracking down a white killer was an afterthought to the police. 

The Interrogation

    Interrogated without an attorney or his parents, Stinney Jr. was defenseless and vulnerable when in the presence of the intimidating Alcolu police. They claimed that Stinney Jr. confessed to murdering Binnicker and Thames after his plan to have sex with one of the girls failed. The confession was coerced and Stinney Jr. was under duress, but this wouldn’t be addressed until his exoneration in 2014. Furthermore, an officer named H.S. Newman wrote in a handwritten statement that stated, “I arrested a boy by the name of George Stinney. He then made a confession and told me where to find a piece of iron about 15 inches long. He said he put it in a ditch about six feet from the bicycle.” In regard to this, Newman refused to reveal where Stinney was detained. His parents didn’t even know where he was as the trial approached. Even though 14, he was considered at an age where he would face legal ramifications. A month after the girl’s death, the trial began for Stinney Jr. at Clarendon County Courthouse. Stinney’s court-appointed attorney Charles Plowden did “little to nothing” to defend his client. The trial lasted TWO HOURS (you read that right), and during those two hours, Plowden failed to call witnesses to the stand or produce any evidence that would refute and cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. In addition, deliberation was swift, ten minutes to be exact, and it culminated with Stinney Jr. being sentenced to death. One thing that should be noted which is somber is that Stinney hadn’t seen his parent in weeks. They couldn’t reach the courthouse because they were in fear of being attacked by a white mob, and the 14-year-old had to endure being surrounded by an irate group of strangers that totaled up to 1500. On April 24th, 1944, Stinney Jr. was sentenced to die by electrocution. 

    The Execution of George Stinney Jr. Bullet Points. 

Stinney Jr.’s execution was not met without resistance by the ways of protests. In South Carolina, organizers that consisted of both white and black ministerial unions petitioned Gov. Olin Johnston to grant Stinney clemency based on his age. 

His supporters made valiant attempts in terms of sending hundreds of letters and telegrams to the governor’s office, begging him to show mercy to Stinney. Moreover, they appealed to everything from the idea of fairness to concepts of justice in Christianity, but in the end, their efforts were to no avail. On June 16th, 1944, George Stinney Jr. walked into the execution chamber at the South Carolina State Penitentiary in Columbia with a Bible tucked under his arm. There’s one issue that arose before the execution commenced. Stinney weighed only 95 pounds. After being dressed in a loose-fitting striped jumpsuit he was strapped into an adult-size electric chair, but his small stature made it a struggle for the state electrician to adjust the electrode onto his right leg. Eventually, it was done, and a mask that was too big for him was placed over his face. Under these circumstances, it’s customary for a death row inmate to be given the courtesy for any final words. “No sir” was Stinney’s reply to an assistant captain when asked if he had any last words. Once the officials turned on the switch, 2,400 volts surged through Stinney’s body causing his mask to slip off. His eyes were wide and teary, and saliva was emanating from his for the witnesses in the room to see. After two more jolts of electricity were administered, it was over. Stinney was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Within a span of 83 days, Stinney had been charged with murder, tried, convicted, and executed by the state. 

A Murder Conviction Overtuned 70 Years Later

In 2014, George Stinney’s murder conviction was thrown out. His siblings specifically his sister Katherine Robinson testified and claimed that his confession was coerced and he had an alibi: At the time of the murders, Stinney was with his sister Aime watching the family’s cow.

It was noted during the testimonies that a man named Wilford “Johnny” Hunter who was Stinney’s cellmate claimed that Stinney denied ever murdering Binnicker and Thames. He said quote, “He said, ‘Johnny, I didn’t, didn’t do it,’” Hunter said. “He said, ‘Why would they kill me for something I didn’t do?’”. The meticulous proceedings took a few months of consideration on December 17th, 2014, Judge Carmen T. Mullen vacated Stinney’s murder conviction, stating that the death sentence was a “great and fundamental injustice”. Stinney’s siblings were elated to learn that their brother was exonerated after 70 years and also glad that they contributed to bringing justice to their brother’s memory. Lastly, Stinney’s sister Katherine Robinson said quote “It was like a cloud just moved away,” said Stinney’s sister, Katherine Robinson. “When we got the news, we were sitting with friends… I threw my hands up and said, ‘Thank you, Jesus!’ Someone had to be listening. It’s what we wanted for all these years.”

Sojourner Truth (Black History 365)

Welcome to Black History 365, a series where I can explain, educate and explore historical events, unsung black figures in world history, and recount the struggles and triumphs of black people worldwide. In this entry I’ll be presenting the story of Sojourner Truth.

Sojourner Truth was a former slave, an outspoken abolitionist, and a civil rights and women’s rights activist in the nineteenth century. Her work during the civil war earned her an invitation to meet Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Bomfree, a slave in Dutch-speaking Ulster County, New York. Truth was bought and sold four times, and subjected to harsh physical labor and violent punishments. In her teens, she united with another slave with whom she had five children with, beginning in 1815. Furthermore, in 1827, a year before New York’s law freeing slaves was to take effect, Truth escaped with her infant Sophia to a nearby abolitionist family, the Van Wageners. This family would buy her freedom for twenty dollars and helped Truth successfully sue for the return of her five year old son Peter who was taken from her and sold illegally into slavery in Alabama. 

The following year, Truth moved to New York City, where she would work for a local minister. Two years later in 1830, she participated in the religious revivals that were spreading throughout the state and the rest of the nation. She would find success in her preaching due to her charisma and credibility.  

It seems during the religious revivals aka the second awakening, slaves and in her case, a free slave spoke with or were called upon by the spirit to embark on a journey of freedom and truth. I spoke about this on the episode dealing with Nat Turner. In 1843, she believed that her persistent teaching was the cause for the holy spirit to call on her to preach the truth. From then on she renamed herself Sojourner Truth.

As an itinerant preacher, Truth would meet William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas. Garrison’s anti-slavery organization encouraged Truth to give speeches about the evils of slavery. However, as with other slaves, she was illiterate. However, in 1850 she dictated what would become her autobiography – The Narrative of Sojourner Truth to which a man named Oliver Gilbert assisted in the publication. Moreover, Truth survived on sales of the book, which garnered her national recognition. In the meantime, she would continue her civil rights activism for freed and enslaved blacks and women’s rights which allowed her to come in contact with fellow women’s right activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. 

In 1851, Truth began a lecture tour that included her women’s rights peers and they would have conferences in Akron Ohio. There she would deliver her famous “Ain’t I a woman”? speech. In the speech, she challenges the prevalent notions of racial and gender inferiority and inequality by reminding listeners of her combined strength and female status. In regards to that, Truth had a falling out with Frederick Douglass, who believed the suffrage for formerly enslaved men should come before women’s suffrage, a perspective she thought should happen simultaneously. 

During the 1850s Truth settled in Battle Creek Michigan where three of her daughters lived. She continued to speak nationally and helped slaves escape to freedom. When the Civil War started, Truth urged young men to join the union cause and organized supplies for black troops. Furthermore, after the war, she was honored with an invitation to the White House and became involved with the Freedom Bureau, helping free slaves find jobs and build new lives. While in Washington D.C., she lobbied against segregation. In the mid-1860’s  a streetcar conductor tried to violently block her from riding. Truth went on to ensure his arrest and went on to win her case. In the late 1860’s she collected thousands of signatures on a petition to provide former slaves with land, though Congress never took action. Nearly blind and deaf towards the end of her life, Truth spent her final years in Michigan.  

Leave a like and give my page a follow so you can stay up to date with my future posts. As always peace and keep it real.

The Ole Miss riot (Black History 365)

Welcome to Black History 365 a series where I explain, educate and explore historical events, unsung black figures in world history and recount the struggles and triumphs of black people worldwide. In this entry I’ll be presenting the story of the riot at Ole Miss in 1962.

The year is 1962 in Oxford Mississippi and James H. Meredith, an African American student, is escorted onto the University of Mississippi campus by U.S. Marshals, which then provoked a deadly riot. Two men were killed before the racial violence was quelled by more than 3,000 federal soldiers. The next day, Meredith successfully enrolled and began to attend classes amid continuing disruption.

Meredith, a native of Mississippi and former Air Force veteran was accepted to the University of Mississippi in 1962, but his admission was revoked when the admissions office found his out about his race. Subsequently, a federal court ordered “ole miss” to admit him, but when tried to register on September 20th 1962, he found the entrance to the office blocked by Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett. Eight days later Barnett was found guilty of civil contempt and was ordered to cease his interference with desegregation at the university or face arrest and a fine of $10,000 a day. 

In 1966 Meredith returned to the public eye when he began a lone civil rights march in an attempt to encourage voter registration by African Americans in the south. During this March Against Fear, Meredith intended to walk from Memphis Tennessee to Jackson Mississippi. However, on June 6th two days into the march, he was sent to a hospital due to a sniper’s bullet.  
Meredith had assistance with continuing the March from Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokley Carmichael. It was during the March Against Fear that Carmicheal the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, first spoke publicly of “Black Power” his concept of militant African American nationalism. When James Meredith recovered he rejoined the movement the march he started successfully reached Jackson Mississippi.

Leave a like if you learned something new from this post, and give my page follow so you stay up to date with my future posts. As always peace and keep it real.

They deserve better #ThursdayThoughts

  • It does not matter if you’re a black American woman, Caribbean black woman, or an African black woman, justice seems to always elude the misrepresented, marginalized, and neglected women in this nation. News that is to no surprise but is always disheartening and enraging came out yesterday on the Breonna Taylor case. A Grand jury decided to not charge Louisville cops that killed Breonna Taylor. This has been a recurring theme of justice not being served to dating back to the murder of Emmit where the jury only needed an hour to make their decision to acquit his killers. In regards to that, the faces of the killers taking the lives of these black people to change, but the mentality of racism and hate remains to be passed down by generations. Protests have been ignited in the streets once again and rightly so, and the cycle of injustice continues under this land that states “liberty and justice for all. Leave a like and comment if you’d like to chime in. Also, give my page a follow so you can stay up to date with my future posts.
Breonna Taylor Commemorated with 7,000-Square-Foot Mural

4 little girls : 1963 Birmingham church bombing (Black History 365)

Welcome readers to another entry in my Black History 365 series where I present and explain historical events that have affected black people worldwide from the Americas, Africa, Caribbean and so forth. Some of the stories are familiar to some and some are not which is the reason I created this series to explore, educate and expand readers understanding of the black struggle and black triumphs in the face of obstacles and oppression.

It’s September 15th, 1963 and a bomb explodes during Sunday morning services at the 16th street Baptist church in Birmingham Alabama killing four young girls; Addie Mae Collins (14), Cynthia Wesley (14), Carole Robertson (14), and Carol Denise McNair (11).

The 16th Street Baptist church served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. who once dubbed Birmingham as a “symbol of hardcore resistance to integration”. Alabama’s governor George Wallace made racial segregation one of the central goals of his administration, and this created one of the most violent and lawless chapters of the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. Once this was established their reign of terrorist attacks began and one of their targets was the church.

Baptist Street Church Bombing — FBI

When the bombing occurred it was the third in Birmingham in 11 days after a federal order came down to integrate Alabama’s school system. Fifteen sticks of dynamite were planted in the church basement, underneath what would turn out to be the girl’s bathroom. At 10:19 AM the bomb detonated killing Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Addie Mae Collins (all 14 years old) and 11-year-old Denise McNair. Immediately after the blast the church members rushed out the church discombobulated, in pain and bloodied. Covered in debris and broken stained glass surrounding them, they began helping survivors through the rubble. More than 20 other members of the congregation were injured in the blast. 

Remembering the Birmingham church bombing | Southern Poverty Law ...
The 4 girls. Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Addie Mae Collins (all 14 years old) and 11-year-old Denise McNair.

In the aftermath irate black protesters assembled at the crime scene. George Wallace sent hundreds of police and state troopers to the area to break up the crowd. Two young black men were killed that night, one by police and another by racist thugs. Meanwhile, public outrage over the bombing continued to grow, drawing international attention to Birmingham. At the funeral for three of the girls, one of the girls’ families preferred a separate, private service. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed more than 8,000 mourners. 

A well known Klan member, Robert Edward Chambliss was charged with murder and with buying 122 sticks of dynamite. In October 1963, Chambliss was cleared of the murder charge and received a six-month jail sentence and a $100 fine for the dynamite. During the FBI investigation three other men – Bobby Frank Cherry, Herman Cash, and Thomas E. Blanton Jr. was arrested for having helped Chambliss commit the crime. Subsequently, it was later revealed that FBI chairman J. Edgar Hoover blocked their prosecution and shut down the investigation without filing charges in 1968. Justice for the murders became stagnant and bleak after the case was closed, but once general Bill Baxley reopened the case it resulted in the conviction of Chambliss in 1977 and he was sentenced to life in prison. 

Robert Edward Chambliss - Alchetron, the free social encyclopedia
Robert Edward Chambliss

Efforts to prosecute the other three men believed responsible for the bombing continued for decades. Even though Cash died in 1994, Cherry and Blanton were arrested and charged with four counts of murder in 2000. Blanton was sentenced to life in prison. Cherry’s trial was delayed after judges ruled he was mentally incompetent to stand trial. However, this decision was later reversed. On May 22nd, 2002 was convicted and sentenced to life, bringing a long-awaited victory to the friends and families of the four young victims.

16th Street Baptist Church bombing | History & Four Girls | Britannica

Hate and Love

Hating is easy, but loving takes a lot more effort and integrity. For example, I’ll equate love to earning an “A” in school. You have to exert a lot of effort to be prepared for and do well on exams, do your homework, and attend classes regularly to get that coveted grade. That’s what love exemplifies, you have to work very hard to get the best outcome. On the other hand, hate can be equated to earning an “F”. As mentioned before, hating is easy and earning an “F” is just as easy. For one by neglecting to demonstrate any effort and providing mediocre attempts at applying oneself in their studies, the outcome would be inevitable. It all comes down to change, a failing student can always right his or her wrongs and become an “A’ student and so can hateful people towards people and things they discriminate against.  

While you’re praying for things to change, your enemy is PREYING. – TheRhymeRula

Free Angela (Black History 365/Women’s History Month)

She’s an activist, an author, a scholar, an abolitionist and most importantly a icon that is revered for her contributions to civil rights and the progression and liberation for the oppressed. She is Angela Y. Davis.

Image result for angela davis art

The year is 1971 and Angela Davis is America’s most famous “Political Prisoner” as she awaits trial in connection to capital crimes in a courtroom armed takeover in 1970 which resulted in her friend Jonathan Jackson, two inmates and a judge dead in Marin county. Responding officers were the ones who had shot those four people, but they needed a “fall guy” to take all the blame and they found that in Davis as she was now their suspect and public enemy number one for the FBI. Investigators accused Davis as they traced a gun used during the ambush to her, but Davis stayed resilient and sensed a setup and from then on she eluded the authorities for two months but eventually was captured by the FBI. President Richard Nixon congratulated the FBI in its “capture of the dangerous terrorist Angela Davis”.

“Free Angela” was the chant from defense committees in the U.S and abroad showing support for what they believed was a severe injustice. These same defense committees formed a broad interracial coalition of supporters who believed it was Nixon’s America not Davis that should be on America’s Most Wanted List. Her supporters went on to show their disdain towards Nixon as they believed he was responsible for America terrorizing, imprisoning and trying to dismantle the movement of black liberation. Their freedom struggle in 1971 became the struggle for freedom of Angela Davis a political prisoner to Nixon and Regan’s law and order of America. Now she stood tall during the trial of her life with millions of progressive Americans who supported her to what would become a monumental moment for her which was her acquittal in 1972.

Image result for angela davis art

From then on Davis had rallied past her detractors and began defending the oppressed. She consistently defended against institutionalized racism, inequality, and injustices as others took the bigoted way of victim-blaming. For decades she has unflinchingly defended black women, black prisoners, and poor blacks from injustices. She didn’t limit herself to only assisting black people from injustices but all women, prisoners, and poor when few Americans would have done that. She has defended America from imperialism, exploitation, racism, sexism, poverty, and incarceration. Davis has transformed those chants during 1971 of “Free Angela” to her lifetime shout of “Free America”.

Even though Black History Month is over I’m continuing my educational series of Black History 365 because Black History should be celebrated and taught year-round. Additionally, this month of March is Women’s History Month so I will combine Black History 365 with Women’s History Month and explore and explain the contributions that black women have done throughout America and world history. You might ask why am I excluding other women from this when it is Women’s History Month. Well, I’m not dismissing any of the exceptional feats women of other races have done it’s just that black women in history have been underappreciated, underestimated and so forth in the discussion of U.S. history and I want to incorporate it in my Black History 365 series. Leave a like and comment if you feel the need too, and as always peace and keep it real.

Image result for angela davis art
I have this as a sticker on my laptop.

There is no safe zone

  • You can’t call nowhere safe

Maybe you’ve heard about the news story about the Texas police officer (Aaron Dean) taking the life of 28 year old woman Atatiana Jefferson. If not, I’ll fill you in. This is the second that I know of home invasion killing done by a cop and yes I said home invasion because that’s clearly what it is, there’s no dispute about it, you can debate me later. Anyways, she was at home spending time peacefully with her nephew playing video games, and had her life taken in a home invasion done by a police officer who didn’t identify himself to her when being in the vicinity of her home. This whole scenario started off with a concerned neighbor calling the cops because the door to Ms. Jefferson door was ajar, which I don’t find anything wrong with because neighbors should look out for each other when dangerous situations might arise. Fast forward to the cop who looked around with his flashlight to find anything unusual or such. He came across Ms. Jefferson and gave her a few seconds let’s say less than four, and told her to show her hands. Without hesitation he began shooting her. Like I said before, he didn’t identify himself to her, it was if he were like some terminator and knew his target to eliminate from existence. Moreover, these badge terminators always have something to fall back on and that is their fear of a “threat” to their lives when they find themselves in tense situations. Furthermore, they used a defense of feeling threatened and in danger from a “perceived threat” by coming across photographs of a gun in Ms. Jefferson’s home. And? We already know this is piece of “evidence” that they found is something they can use against the victim to portray her as hostile. I’m not buying that bullshit because regardless of what this incompetent officer says, Ms. Jefferson is gone, and at this moment has no justice! Even if he ( Aaron Dean) is brought up on charges of murder and hopefully charge with home invasion, I bet he’ll probably get the same treatment Amber Guyger got which was ten years for her slaying of Jean Botham last month in Dallas, but I’m getting my hopes up and expect some bullshit termination or such. With that said, they’re badge terminators who abuse their power out there and will probably continue to get away with these killings because the system is set up against civilians and their rights. This situation could happen to anyone anywhere and that’s the scary part about it. The people who are sworn in to protect and serve all wear the same badges so it’s difficult to distinguish the well trained officer who is doing his or her duties and the incompetent badge terminators who freak out in strenuous situations and have to bust back with shots. I’m not trying to make this a race issue, or my stance on the police force, I’m trying to point out the stupidity, negligence and recklessness these badge terminators have shown that always ends up with someone losing their life, and the justice system giving a half ass punishment to these perpetrators. Anyways, that’s my perspective on this situation. Whether you think I’m too hard on the “boys in blue” or anti police or whatever the case my be doesn’t bother or matter to me because, like I said before we live among police everyday and that one trigger happy badge terminator might be the one you come across and can end you or someone you know if you happen to provoke him or her the wrong way. This may sound harsh, but it’s the cold truth. Be aware, stay safe and thanks for reading. Leave a comment if feel the need too. Until next peace and keep it real.

Police line-do not cross stanchion near trees under blue sky at daytime

Start a Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: