Willie McGee, Radio Diaries

Today’s NY Times previews an NPR’s Radio Diaries documentary, Willie McGee and the Traveling Electric Chair, airing tomorrow.

McGee, an African-American handyman, was accused of raping a white woman in Mississippi in 1945 and convicted by all-white juries in three separate trials. Despite protests from many well-known people, his appeal was finally rejected by the Supreme Court and he was executed. The execution was covered live on the radio.

The article also covers a new book The Eyes of Willie McGee, coming next week. The author, Alex Heard, first heard a tape of the radio coverage in college. He went on to become a reporter and a Civil Rights activist. Haunted for years by what he heard in the recording, he began looking into the story and discovered that it had never been covered in depth.

The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South
Alex Heard
Retail Price: $26.99
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061284157 / 9780061284151

Books on Tape; UNABR; 11 CD’s; 9780307737083; $45
OverDrive WMA Audiobook

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