Save democracy at home! Free Willie McGee [poster]. Willie Mcgee.

Save democracy at home! Free Willie McGee [poster]

n.p. [194-]. 22x12 inch poster from the campaign to save Willie McGee from execution. Creased from having been folded into quarters, fragile, with some chipping to edges, a split at intersection of fold lines, and toning along fold lines and along the edges.

McGee had been convicted and sentenced to death in 1945 for the rape of a white woman, Willette Hawkins, in Mississippi. His case became a focus of great attention on the left because of the implications of Jim Crow justice in his conviction (the all-white jury took less than three minutes to deliberate). Public supporters of a new trial for McGee included Paul Robeson, Albert Einstein, and Jessica Mitford. A young Bella Abzug was one of his defense attorneys. Despite their efforts, McGee was ultimately executed in 1951, his last letter to his wife asking her to "Tell the people the real reason they are going to take my life is to keep the Negro down... They can't do this if you and the children keep on fighting. Never forget to tell them why they killed their daddy. I know you won't fail me. Tell the people to keep on fighting." The case is discussed in Alex Heard's book, "The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South."

Cat.No: 207490

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