"Today in History for June 16, 2014," is a daily feature of the Associated Press. It's via the Daily Republic.
On June 16, 1944, George Stinney, a 14-year-old black youth, became the youngest person to die in the electric chair as the state of South Carolina executed him for the murders of two white girls, Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, 7. (George Stinney’s family, who maintains his innocence, is seeking to overturn his conviction.)
Jesse Wegman writes the editorial column, "A Boy’s Execution, 70 Years Later," in today's New York Times.
On the first page of the official sentencing report for George Stinney Jr., the outline of a boy is visible in a short string of numbers. Age: 14. Height: 5-1. Weight: 95. His complexion is listed as Black, his religion as Baptist, his occupation as None. Next to Build one word is typed: Small.
On March 24, 1944, George was arrested and charged with the murder of two young white girls, Betty June Binnicker and Mary Emma Thames, who were found beaten to death in a ditch in rural Clarendon County, S.C.
One month later he was tried and found guilty. He was executed on June 16, 1944 — the youngest person to be put to death in the 20th century. He was so small that the guards struggled to strap him to the electric chair, and the jolt of electricity knocked the mask from his face.
The sentencing report states that George Stinney was “legally electrocuted.” But to call what happened legal is to say only that this boy’s fate was decided in a courtroom, by a judge and jury, rather than by a throng of angry men with a rope.
In truth, George Stinney was lynched in slow motion.
WLTX-TV posts, "George Stinney, Jr. Supporters Erect Headstone," by Dakarai Turner. There is video at the link.
Supporters of Stinney say that justice was not served when he was executed in 1944 and 70 years later, residents still aren't quite sure what happened.
"We heard so many different stories," said 54-year-old Alcolu resident Jeanette McCall."I hope the truth comes out."
Shonda Blackwell, 40, also a resident of the small town, echoed those thoughts.
"I don't know the full story of it, just bits and pieces of it, and that's just from my parents because I wasn't born during the time," Blackwell said.
But historian George Frierson said he has his own way of keeping the memory of that story from fading.
"We want the story to be told, and this was an adequate way to do that and also to remember him," Frierson said, standing next to the headstone he had placed in Alcolu.
"Memorial being unveiled to youth executed in SC," is Bruce Smith's AP filing, via the State.
"We are doing this to make sure he is never forgotten," said George Frierson, a School Board member who has been pushing to clear Stinney's name for almost a decade. "This is a travesty in the American judicial system."
The memorial unveiling in the town where the slayings occurred comes two days before the 70th anniversary of Stinney's execution. The youth was led to the electric chair June 16, 1944, with a Bible in his arm, the youngest person put to death in the nation in the past century.
"We want to make sure he is remembered and his execution is remembered," Frierson said. "He never had an opportunity to grow up, get married and have children."
Earlier coverage of George Stinney's case begins at the link.