MULTIMEDIA:  NPR Documentary Features Historical Coverage from Mississippi Execution

On Friday, May 7, NPR’s Radio Diaries will feature a half-hour documentary entitled, “Willie McGee and the Traveling Electric Chair.” The documentary focuses on the life of Willie McGee who was executed in Mississippi during the Jim Crow era after being convicted by an all-white jury of raping a white woman. During that time in Mississippi, the state used a portable electric chair, which the state transported from county to county. According to NPR, it was not just the portable electric chair that made McGee’s execution unusual, but the unprecedented live radio coverage that accompanied it. The documentary includes excerpts of the live coverage from McGee’s execution, broadcast from outside the courthouse where the execution took place.

(L. Rohter, “The Echoes of an Execution Reverberate Loud and Clear,” New York Times, May 6, 2010). Go here for excerpts from the radio documentary. See also Race and History of the Death Penalty.