A black maid who was executed in 1945 for killing the white man she claimed had held her in slavery and threatened her life is to receive a pardon from the state of Georgia.
Lena Baker, the only woman executed in Georgia’s electric chair, was sentenced to death by an all-white, all-male jury after a trial that lasted just one day. In August 1944 Baker told the court that 67-year-old EB Knight, a man she had been hired to care for, had held her against her will in a grist mill and threatened to shoot her if she tried to leave.
She said she had grabbed Knight’s gun and shot him when he raised a metal bar to strike her.
The decision to refuse Baker clemency in 1945, said a spokeswoman for Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, Scheree Lipscomb, “was a grievous error, as this case called out for mercy”.
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