I preserved the radio broadcast of this execution when I was working at the
Oral History Unit of the University of Southern Mississsippi. It is held
there and was chilling to preserve and listen to. It has a lot of actuality
including the broadcaster standing next to the generator so the listeners
can 'hear' the surges of power.
Dr. Curtis Austin was the Director at the time but he is now in Black
Studies there. They can be contacted here -
The Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Dr., #5175
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
On Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 10:57 AM, Samara Freemark
<[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> My name is Samara Freemark. I'm a producer at Radio Diaries - we produce
> historical documentaries for NPR's All Things Considered.
> We're currently working on a story about a 1940s-era case in Mississippi.
> 1945, a black man named Willie McGee was arrested and accused of raping a
> white woman. Over the next six years, his case became a cause celebre:
> Einstein, Faulkner, Josephine Baker and others spoke out in support of
> McGee; there were protests in cities across the US and in Paris, China,
> Russia, and other countries. He was defended by the Civil Rights Congress
> (CRC), who hired Bella Abzug to argue the case. Eventually, McGee was
> executed in Mississippi's portable electric chair at midnight on the
> of May 8th, 1951.
> We're looking for any audio archival materials that mention the McGee case.
> Any archival materials on the portable electric chair (I think it was
> inaugurated in the early '40s). Any materials from the protests surrounding
> his case - in the US, or abroad (apparently Radio Peking mentioned McGee at
> some point). Anything from that era that mentions Bella Abzug or the CRC.
> Any general archival material on race relations in the American South in
> 1940s and early 50s (the dates are before the real start of the civil
> movement, so archive has proven a bit difficult to track down.) Apparently
> there was a nationwide NBC radio broadcast that mentioned McGee on the
> of execution (May 7th); we're looking for that too.
> Any help or advice you can offer would be so very appreciated. You can
> me at [log in to unmask]
> Thanks so much for your help,
> Samara Freemark
> Radio Diaries
> [log in to unmask]