Lena Baker execution was six decades ago - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lena Baker execution was six decades ago

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

ATTAPULGUS, GA (WALB) –Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of a pardon given to a Southwest Georgia woman, six decades after she was executed.

Lena Baker was a maid who killed her boss in self-defense. But she was wrongly accused of murder.

Her family says recent books and movies about Baker haven't told the entire truth.

65-years ago, Lena Baker, a black woman, was executed after a swift trial during which a jury of white men found her guilty of murdering her employer, E.B. Knight.

"It's sad that this was the way it was," says Baker's great grandnephew, Roosevelt Curry. "That pardon says they shouldn't have electrocuted her. But she had no one to help her but God."

Baker's great grandnephew Roosevelt Curry and other relatives decided to prove what they long knew to be the truth, so they hired an investigator.

"They asked me what I wanted and I said I want her name cleared."

And five years ago, that's what they got.

The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles found that at the most, Lena Baker could have been convicted for voluntary manslaughter, not murder. She's was only the second person ever granted a pardon after death in the state.

But the news, was bittersweet.

"This is heartbreaking. People don't realize it's heartbreaking," says an emotional Curry.

Curry has boxes full of newspaper articles, government letters, and photos about his great Aunt. He even has this letter written by a great grandnephew of E.B. Knight explaining how he wished he could have done something to save Lena Baker.

"He talked about how evil his uncle was. How he wished he could have been there to help Aunt Lena Baker. Then he said if I ever need help with anything, give him a call. It made me feel good because we weren't out to fight with their family. All we were looking for was the truth."

Now, Baker's family wants to make sure only the truth is told when someone speaks about her.

"Nobody ever really sat down and talked to us about Lena Baker," Curry explains.

They say writers and filmmakers embellish Baker's story with lies to make money. But all the family wants is for Baker to finally rest in peace.

Use these links to learn much more about the Lena Baker case and her life--

WALB News coverage--


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