1944: At Age 14, George Junius Stinney, Jr. Becomes the Youngest Person Executed in the United States in the 20th Century

George Stinney was arrested on March 23, 1944 on suspicion of murdering two young girls, Betty June Binnicker, age 11, and Mary Emma Thames, age 8, in Alcolu, South Carolina.

The girls had disappeared the previous day while out riding their bicycles. Witnesses claimed that as they passed the Stinney property (on the other side of the railroad tracks of the small mill town) they asked young George and his sister, Katherine, if they knew where to find “maypops,” a local name for passionflowers.

When the girls did not return home, a massive search was organized. The next morning the bodies of the girls were found in a ditch filled with muddy water. Both had suffered severe head wounds. A few hours later the sheriff arrested George Stinney, his father was fired from his job at the local sawmill, and his family, fearful of being lynched, was forced to flee town.

The trial took one day, including jury selection. Trial presentation lasted two-and-a-half hours. The court-appointed defense counsel, a local politician, did not call any witnesses, and did not challenge the sheriff who testified that George Stinney confessed to the murders, even though Stinney denied confessing to the crime. The all-white jury took ten minutes to deliberate, after which they returned with a guilty verdict.

The execution of George Stinney was carried out at Central Correctional Institution in Columbia, on June 16, 1944. At 7:30 p.m., 81 days after the murders, Stinney walked to the execution chamber with a Bible under his arm, which he later used as a booster seat in the electric chair.

Standing 5 foot 2 inches tall and weighing just over 90 pounds his small size made it difficult to secure him to the frame holding the electrodes. As he was hit with the first surge of electricity, the adult-sized mask covering his face slipped off, “revealing his wide-open, tearful eyes and saliva coming from his mouth…”

After two more jolts of electricity, the boy was dead.

1805: Lewis and Clark Expedition Discovers the Great Falls of the Missouri

Journal entry of Captain Meriwether Lewis —Thursday June 13th 1805

“This morning we set out about sunrise after taking breakfast off our venison and fish.

We again ascended the hills of the river and gained the level country. The country through which we passed for the first six miles tho’ more roling than that we had passed yesterday might still with propryety be deemed a level country; our course as yesterday was generally S W. The river from the place we left it appeared to make a considerable bend to the South. From the extremity of this roling country I overlooked a most beatifull and level plain of great extent or at least 50 or sixty miles; in this there were infinitely more buffaloe than I had ever before witnessed at a view. Nearly in the direction I had been travling or S. W. two curious mountains presented themselves of square figures, the sides rising perpendicularly to the hight of 250 feet and appeared to be formed of yellow clay; their tops appeared to be level plains; these inaccessible hights appeared like the ramparts of immence fortifications; I have no doubt but with very little assistance from art they might be rendered impregnable.

Fearing that the river boar to the South and that I might pass the falls if they existed between this an the snowey mountains I altered my course nealy to the South leaving those insulated hills to my wright and proceeded through the plain; I sent Feels on my right and Drewyer and Gibson on my left with orders to kill some meat and join me at the river where I should halt for dinner.

I had proceded on this course about two miles with Goodrich at some distance behind me whin my ears were saluted with the agreeable sound of a fall of water and advancing a little further I saw the spray arrise above the plain like a collumn of smoke which would frequently dispear again in an instant caused I presume by the wind which blew pretty hard from the S. W. I did not however loose my direction to this point which soon began to make a roaring too tremendious to be mistaken for any cause short of the great falls of the Missouri. Here I arrived about 12 OClock having traveled by estimate about 15 Miles. I hurryed down the hill which was about 200 feet high and difficult of access, to gaze on this sublimely grand specticle.

I took my position on the top of some rocks about 20 feet high opposite the center of the falls. This chain of rocks appear once to have formed a part of those over which the waters tumbled, but in the course of time has been seperated from it to the distance of 150 yards lying prarrallel to it and forming a butment against which the water after falling over the precipice beats with great fury; this barrier extends on the right to the perpendicular clift which forms that board [bound? border?] of the river but to the distance of 120 yards next to the clift it is but a few feet above the level of the water, and here the water in very high tides appears to pass in a channel of 40 yds. next to the higher part of the ledg of rocks; on the left it extends within 80 or ninty yards of the lard. Clift which is also perpendicular; between this abrupt extremity of the ledge of rocks and the perpendicular bluff the whole body of water passes with incredible swiftness.

Immediately at the cascade the river is about 300 yds. wide; about ninty or a hundred yards of this next the Lard. bluff is a smoth even sheet of water falling over a precipice of at least eighty feet, the remaining part of about 200 yards on my right formes the grandest sight I ever beheld, the hight of the fall is the same of the other but the irregular and somewhat projecting rocks below receives the water in it’s passage down and brakes it into a perfect white foam which assumes a thousand forms in a moment sometimes flying up in jets of sparkling foam to the hight of fifteen or twenty feet and are scarcely formed before large roling bodies of the same beaten and foaming water is thrown over and conceals them.

In short the rocks seem to be most happily fixed to present a sheet of the whitest beaten froath for 200 yards in length and about 80 feet perpendicular. The water after decending strikes against the butment before mentioned or that on which I stand and seems to reverberate and being met by the more impetuous courant they role and swell into half formed billows of great hight which rise and again disappear in an instant. this butment of rock defends a handsom little bottom of about three acres which is deversified and agreeably shaded with some cottonwood trees; in the lower extremity of the bottom there is a very thick grove of the same kind of trees which are small, in this wood there are several Indian lodges formed of sticks. a few small cedar grow near the ledge of rocks where I rest.

Below the point of these rocks at a small distance the river is divided by a large rock which rises several feet above the water, and extends downwards with the stream for about 20 yards. About a mile before the water arrives at the pitch it decends very rappidly, and is confined on the Lard. Side by a perpendicular clift of about 100 feet, on Stard. side it is also perpendicular for about three hundred yards above the pitch where it is then broken by the discharge of a small ravine, down which the buffaloe have a large beaten road to the water, For it is but in very few places that these anamals can obtain water near this place owing to the steep and inaccessible banks. I see several skelletons of the buffaloe lying in the edge of the water near the Stard. bluff which I presume have been swept down by the current and precipitated over this tremendious fall.”

1963: Medgar Evers is Murdered in Jackson, Mississippi

1963 – MEDGAR EVERS IS MURDERED IN JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI</p><br />
<p>In the early morning of June 12, 1963, the day after George Wallace stood in the door at the University of Alabama attempting to block the entry of two black students, and just hours after President John F. Kennedy's national televised speech in support of civil rights, Medgar Evers returned from a meeting with NAACP lawyers to his home in Jackson. </p><br />
<p>He pulled into his driveway, and, as he got out of his car, carrying a load of T-shirts that read "Jim Crow Must Go," a shot was fired and a bullet ripped through his back. He staggered across the driveway, and then collapsed. He was rushed to the Jackson hospital but was initially refused entry because of his color until it was explained who he was; he died in the hospital 50 minutes later.</p><br />
<p>Evers was born July 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi. He fought with the Army in the Battle of Normandy during World War II and was honorably discharged as a sergeant. After the war Evers went to college, married classmate Myrlie Beasley, had three children and became a salesman for the Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company. </p><br />
<p>He became involved in the civil rights struggle and helped organize a boycott of filling stations which denied blacks use of the stations' restrooms. Evers applied to University of Mississippi Law School in 1954 but was rejected by the then-segregated school. In 1954 Evers' was named the NAACP's first field secretary for Mississippi. He set up new local chapters of the NAACP, assisted James Meredith's efforts to enroll in “Ole Miss”, and helped organize the Biloxi Wade-Ins, protests against segregation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches.</p><br />
<p>Evers’ civil rights work soon made him a target of white supremacists. His public investigations into the murder of Emmett Till and his vocal support of Clyde Kennard had made him a prominent figure. On May 28, 1963, a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the carport of his home. On June 7, he was nearly run down by a car after he emerged from the Jackson NAACP office.</p><br />
<p>Evers was buried on June 19 in Arlington National Cemetery, where he received full military honors before a crowd of more than 3,000.<br /><br />
On June 21, 1963, Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens' Council, was arrested for Evers' murder. District Attorney and future governor Bill Waller prosecuted De La Beckwith, but in two trials that year juries composed solely of white men deadlocked on De La Beckwith's guilt.</p><br />
<p>30 years after the two trials had failed to reach a verdict, De La Beckwith was again brought to trial based on new evidence. On February 5, 1994 Byron De La Beckwith was finally convicted of the murder of Medgar Evers. He died in prison, at age 80, in January 2001.In the early morning of June 12, 1963, the day after George Wallace stood in the door at the University of Alabama attempting to block the entry of two black students, and just hours after President John F. Kennedy’s national televised speech in support of civil rights, Medgar Evers returned from a meeting with NAACP lawyers to his home in Jackson.

He pulled into his driveway, and, as he got out of his car, carrying a load of T-shirts that read “Jim Crow Must Go,” a shot was fired and a bullet ripped through his back. He staggered across the driveway, and then collapsed. He was rushed to the Jackson hospital but was initially refused entry because of his color until it was explained who he was; he died in the hospital 50 minutes later.

Evers was born July 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi. He fought with the Army in the Battle of Normandy during World War II and was honorably discharged as a sergeant. After the war Evers went to college, married classmate Myrlie Beasley, had three children and became a salesman for the Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company.

He became involved in the civil rights struggle and helped organize a boycott of filling stations which denied blacks use of the stations’ restrooms. Evers applied to University of Mississippi Law School in 1954 but was rejected by the then-segregated school. In 1954 Evers’ was named the NAACP’s first field secretary for Mississippi. He set up new local chapters of the NAACP, assisted James Meredith’s efforts to enroll in “Ole Miss”, and helped organize the Biloxi Wade-Ins, protests against segregation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches.

Evers’ civil rights work soon made him a target of white supremacists. His public investigations into the murder of Emmett Till and his vocal support of Clyde Kennard had made him a prominent figure. On May 28, 1963, a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the carport of his home. On June 7, he was nearly run down by a car after he emerged from the Jackson NAACP office.

Evers was buried on June 19 in Arlington National Cemetery, where he received full military honors before a crowd of more than 3,000.
On June 21, 1963, Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens’ Council, was arrested for Evers’ murder. District Attorney and future governor Bill Waller prosecuted De La Beckwith, but in two trials that year juries composed solely of white men deadlocked on De La Beckwith’s guilt.

30 years after the two trials had failed to reach a verdict, De La Beckwith was again brought to trial based on new evidence. On February 5, 1994 Byron De La Beckwith was finally convicted of the murder of Medgar Evers. He died in prison, at age 80, in January 2001.

1962: Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin Escape from Alcatraz

Photo: 1962 – FRANK MORRIS, JOHN ANGLIN AND CLARENCE ANGLIN ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ.</p><br /> <p>Clarence and John Anglin started to rob banks in Georgia in the early fifties. They were arrested in 1956 and sentenced to the Atlanta Penitentiary with 15–20 year sentences where they first met Frank Morris, who had been convicted of his first crime at age 13.</p><br /> <p>Clarence and John made several failed attempts to escape the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary and were consequently sent to Alcatraz where they met back up with Morris.</p><br /> <p>By September 1961 Morris and the Anglin brothers were planning another escape. They sculpted dummy heads from soap, toilet paper and hair, and left them in their beds to fool prison officers making night-time inspections. They escaped  by crawling through holes in the cell walls which they had dug with spoons over the course of a year. This put them into an unused service corridor.</p><br /> <p>From the service corridor they climbed a ventilation shaft to reach the roof. The trio then climbed down from the rooftop, scaled the prison's fence and assembled a raft from raincoats and plastic bags and contact cement. They blew up the raft and at around 10 p.m. they shoved off and started paddling. </p><br /> <p>The next morning it was discovered that the trio had escaped. At first, guards thought that the escapees had been decapitated; only upon further scrutiny did they realize that the heads were part of a clever escape plot. </p><br /> <p>Police searched for the escapees on Alcatraz and Angel Island without success. Remnants of the raft, paddles, and a bag containing the Anglins' personal effects were found on Angel Island. According to the FBI, while it was theoretically possible for the three inmates to have reached Angel Island, but the cold water temperature and direction of the ocean's tides made this unlikely. The FBI also thought that the plans of the inmates were to steal clothes and a car once they reached land, although no car or clothing thefts were reported in the area following the escape.</p><br /> <p>The case was closed by the FBI on December 31, 1979, after a 17-year investigation. It was concluded that the prisoners drowned in the cold waters of the bay while trying to reach the mainland. </p><br /> <p>However, rumors persist that investigators found footprints on Angel Island leading away from the raft, and had identified a blue Chevrolet that had been stolen that night. As late as September 2009, the case was still being investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service, when Deputy U.S. Marshal Michael Dyke told NPR, "There's an active warrant and the Marshals Service doesn't give up looking for people," he said. "In this case, this would be like saying, 'Well, yeah, they probably are dead. We're going to quit looking.' Well, there's no proof they're dead, so we're not going to quit looking."Clarence and John Anglin started to rob banks in Georgia in the early fifties. They were arrested in 1956 and sentenced to the Atlanta Penitentiary with 15–20 year sentences where they first met Frank Morris, who had been convicted of his first crime at age 13.

Clarence and John made several failed attempts to escape the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary and were consequently sent to Alcatraz where they met back up with Morris.

By September 1961 Morris and the Anglin brothers were planning another escape. They sculpted dummy heads from soap, toilet paper and hair, and left them in their beds to fool prison officers making night-time inspections. They escaped by crawling through holes in the cell walls which they had dug with spoons over the course of a year. This put them into an unused service corridor.

From the service corridor they climbed a ventilation shaft to reach the roof. The trio then climbed down from the rooftop, scaled the prison’s fence and assembled a raft from raincoats and plastic bags and contact cement. They blew up the raft and at around 10 p.m. they shoved off and started paddling.

The next morning it was discovered that the trio had escaped. At first, guards thought that the escapees had been decapitated; only upon further scrutiny did they realize that the heads were part of a clever escape plot.

Police searched for the escapees on Alcatraz and Angel Island without success. Remnants of the raft, paddles, and a bag containing the Anglins’ personal effects were found on Angel Island. According to the FBI, while it was theoretically possible for the three inmates to have reached Angel Island, but the cold water temperature and direction of the ocean’s tides made this unlikely. The FBI also thought that the plans of the inmates were to steal clothes and a car once they reached land, although no car or clothing thefts were reported in the area following the escape.

The case was closed by the FBI on December 31, 1979, after a 17-year investigation. It was concluded that the prisoners drowned in the cold waters of the bay while trying to reach the mainland.

However, rumors persist that investigators found footprints on Angel Island leading away from the raft, and had identified a blue Chevrolet that had been stolen that night. As late as September 2009, the case was still being investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service, when Deputy U.S. Marshal Michael Dyke told NPR, “There’s an active warrant and the Marshals Service doesn’t give up looking for people,” he said. “In this case, this would be like saying, ‘Well, yeah, they probably are dead. We’re going to quit looking.’ Well, there’s no proof they’re dead, so we’re not going to quit looking.”

Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.