The youngest person to be executed in the USA was a 14 year old black boy who didn’t get a fair trial and had to sit on a Bible in order to fit into the electric chair
His name is George Junius Stinney, Jr. and he was 14 years, 6 months, and 5 days old when he was executed — and holds the title of being the youngest person ever executed in the United States in the 20th Century. In a South Carolina prison sixty-six years ago, guards walked the 14-year-old boy, bible tucked under his arm, to the electric chair. Standing only 5′ 1″ and weighing a mere 95 pounds, the straps of the chair didn’t fit, and an electrode was too big for his leg. But that didn’t matter. The switch was pulled anyway and the adult sized death mask fell from George Stinney’s face. Tears streamed from his eyes. Witnesses recoiled in horror as they sat and watched the youngest person ever executed in the United States in the past century die. Stinney was accused of killing two white girls, 11 year old Betty June Binnicker and 8 year old Mary Emma Thames, by beating them with a railroad spike then dragging their bodies to a ditch near Acolu, about five miles from Manning in central South Carolina. The girls were found a day after they disappeared following a massive manhunt. Stinney was arrested a few hours later when white men in suits came and took him away. Because of the risk of a lynching, Stinney was kept at a jail 50 miles away in Columbia, SC. Stinney’s father, who had helped look for the girls, was fired immediately and ordered to leave his home and the sawmill where he worked. His family was told to leave town prior to the trial to avoid further retribution. An atmosphere of lynch mob hysteria hung over the courthouse. Without family visits, the 14 year old had to endure the trial and death alone. Community activists are still fighting to clear Stinney’s name, saying the young boy couldn’t possibly have killed two girls. In several cases like Stinney’s, petitions are being made before parole boards and courts are being asked to overturn decisions made when society’s thumb was weighing the scales of justice against blacks.
Before ‘The Joy of Painting’ was launched, Bob Ross would have his hair permed to save money on haircuts. The perm was uncomfortable for him but as the show gained popularity it became his most iconic feature, ultimately forcing him to keep the style.
Doris “Dorie” Miller was a cook in the US Navy noted for his bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross. A ship’s cook on the battleship West Virginia during Pearl Harbor, Miller was called into action during the attack and fired a Browning .50 caliber anti-aircraft machine gun (a weapon he had received no training on) until it ran out of ammo. Miller was one of the “first heroes of World War II”. He died during the battle of Makin Island when the escort carrier, Liscome Bay, was sunk by a Japanese submarine.