Friday, August 26, 2005

Posthumous Pardon

Lena Baker will receive a posthumous pardon 60 years after the State of Georgia electrocuted her for killing her "master" in self-defense. But really, a posthumous pardon? Who is being pardoned? She is dead, how will she "receive" the pardon.

Yeah, I know we are splitting hairs here and it's a way for the State to admit wrong. I know it's good for the families to receive the pardon but like one of the descendants said: "No sheaf of papers will bring anyone back."

It's appalling. When I read about what happened the day and night of the death of her "master" I feel a churning in my gut. Such atrocities. How much of this stuff occurs each day? Unnoticed?

Said one source: "Ms Baker was tried by an all white male jury and no forensic evidence was supplied.   Her family were not permitted to mark her grave with her name until 1998 and only received a proper funeral in 2003."

One blogger called it an irrevocable error. Lena Baker was excuted less than 7 months after the sentencing. She was the first and only women excuted by the state of Georgia.

I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops. -Stephen Jay Gould