Headstone unveiled for female victim of electric chair - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Headstone unveiled for female victim of electric chair

By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

CUTHBERT, GA (WALB) –The only woman ever to die in Georgia's electric chair now finally has a headstone on her grave. Lena Baker was executed in 1945 after she killed a man in defense in Cuthbert.

Wednesday, family members, gospel singers, and even strangers came together at Baker's place of worship in Cuthbert, for an emotional headstone dedication ceremony 65 years after her death.

For Roosevelt Curry, this headstone has been a long time coming, "It is a beautiful headstone and I am proud, I wish her children we able to see it today," he said.

65 years ago his great aunt, Lena Baker was executed in the electric chair, making her the only woman ever sentenced to die in the electric chair in Georgia. "I thank God for everything he did for me to get me this far with it because she really was treated bad," he said.

After her death, family members including Curry began working closely with the pardons and parole board, and in 2005 Baker was granted a pardon after her family pointed out she likely killed the man because he was holding her against her will. "I'm just glad I was able to do what I did, I asked for the pardon and that's what I have," he said.

Today, more than a dozen people gathered at Baker's place of worship, Mount Vernon Baptist Church for an emotional headstone dedication ceremony.  "When we first started with Lena Baker we had about ten people, they had more today than they ever had," he said.

Letters from state leaders were read in Baker's honor, Rutha Mae Harris and the Freedom singers performed and the writer and producer of the Lena Baker Story broke down in tears at the podium.

For four years, Ralph Wilcox has been working on the Lena Baker story. "This is the first major motion picture done on Lena Baker," said Wilcox.

The film was released on DVD January 4th.

Wilcox hopes the film will touch the lives of others and leaves them inspired by her story.

The movie was filmed all over south Georgia including Early County, Baker County and Miller County. The jail scenes and the electrocution scene was filmed at a film and television studio in Colquitt.

You can buy the film just about anywhere that sells DVDs, or you can purchase it online as well.

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