Unfortunately, that there was a crowd is no surprise to me. Lynchings were often considered a family 'amusement' as well, as can be seen here:

--- On Wed, 3/17/10, Parker Dinkins <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Parker Dinkins <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] NPR reporter searching for news archive
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010, 8:48 AM

Samara - 

I did the work on those transfers in New Orleans for Marie O'Connell and
MDAH on November 26, 2004.

The source format was 7" open reel on acetate tape. My rough notes indicate
that we removed some hum on the access copies, but my detailed notes and
specific settings were destroyed when the levees collapsed.

While I do have the original and processed audio on data b/u, the program
material belongs to MDAH.

Hope this helps.

Parker Dinkins
Audio Mastering + Restoration

on 3/16/10 9:49 AM US/Central, Samara Freemark wrote:

> Yes, I should have mentioned that we do have that recording - and yes,
> "chilling" is the word for it. Marie, that's interesting that you worked on
> preserving it. We were trying to track down who preserved it. Where did the
> tape come from originally? And do you (or anyone else) know if other
> archives from local radio stations in Mississippi have been preserved
> anywhere?
> Thanks again for all the help,
> Samara
> On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 9:42 PM, Marie O'Connell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> It was a live event, there was a large crowd assembled as you could hear
>> them in the background.  The broadcaster refers to a boy who is up a tree
>> and had a 'good view' of Willie in the portable electric chair.  I was
>> appalled to think a child would be allowed to view this event which took
>> place just after midnight.  There is an explanation about why the execution
>> took place after midnight.  After the three rather loud surges of power
>> from
>> the generator are broadcast you hear the crowd cheering.
>> It was one of the saddest preservations I have done.
>> Marie
>> On Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 2:32 PM, <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> In a message dated 3/15/2010 9:29:43 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
>>> [log in to unmask] writes:
>>> I  preserved the radio broadcast of this execution when I was working at
>>> the
>>> Oral History Unit of the University of Southern  Mississsippi.
>>> ----------------
>>> This 1951 electrocution was actually broadcast live (in real time)? Isn't
>>> that a unique event?
>>> Allen