Willie McGee and the Traveling Electric Chair

On the night of May 7th, 1951, a thousand people gathered in Laurel, Mississippi, to witness the execution of Willie McGee, a black man convicted of raping a white woman.

2010 / Joe Richman / Samara Freemark / NPR's All Things Considered, USA


On the night of May 7th, 1951, a thousand people gathered in Laurel, Mississippi, to witness the execution of Willie McGee, a black man convicted of raping a white woman.

McGee's case had wound through three trials, and garnered support from many including William Faulkner, Paul Robeson and Albert Einstein. But after the execution, his story was forgotten. Sixty years later, McGee's granddaughter teamed up with Radio Diaries to search for the true story of Willie McGee and the Traveling Electric Chair.

Willie McGee and the Traveling Electric Chair won the Best Documentary: Silver Award in the 2010 Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. The story was produced in 2010 by Joe Richman and Samara Freemark of Radio Diaries with narration by Bridgette McGee and assistance from Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, Deborah George, Ben Shapiro and Harold Robinson for NPR's All Things Considered and the BBC World Service.

(total running time: 22:58)


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