5 March 1945 – Lena Baker

Lena BakerLena Baker was fried on this day following a life devoted to turning tricks in a bid to make ends meet.

A dishonest crust

Baker’s life was one of hardship. Born into an African American family of cotton pickers, Baker’s family struggled to make a living. So, when she was 20 and she discovered how lucrative sex was, selling her body became Baker’s means of income.

But in that day and age, mixed race relationships of any kind were a criminal offence in Georgia, so she was banged up for a few months.

Baker came out and found solace in booze before being employed to nurse a man who’d broken his leg – Ernest Knight.

Paranoid

Knight was a bit of a nutter by all accounts. He was such a billy-no-mates that he felt compelled to have a gun strapped to himself at all times, so he must have been pretty worried about being caught defenceless. Turns out he was right to be so paranoid.

Mutual satisfaction

Baker and Knight formed a bizarre relationship – she’d get copious amounts of booze and he’d get sex in return. But this set-up was frowned upon.

Therefore to avoid the scandal mongering, Knight’s eldest son got him to move to Tallahassee. But this backfired when Knight brought Baker with him. It wasn’t long before the son booted her out, but her sex-starved ex-lover followed her back.

At her trial, Baker claimed that he had imprisoned and threatened to shoot her should she attempt to leave, whereupon she took his gun and shot him.

But that defence didn’t wash with the jury and Baker was found guilty of the crime and promptly plonked on the electric chair in Georgia, aged 44.

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12 Responses to “5 March 1945 – Lena Baker”

  1. This was wrong what they did to her knight kept getting her and they were tussiling and he shot himself. For the last reason how are you going to pardon her 60 years later? That was wrong

    • Kenya Lister Says:

      That really saddens me I just watched the movie and I cried like a baby the way black people was treated back in them days all people are equal in my eyes may her soul rest in peace justice can a little to late

  2. David Lee Says:

    Hollywood made a movie and changed the story from the true story. She was found guilty but did not have a fair trial. Mixing between the races was against the law at this time in most states. It happened pretty often but not out in the open. Sex between blacks and white was looked down on by both blacks and white during this time period. Baker and Knight did not hide their relationship with one another. All these facts were in the minds of the jury no doubt. There was no way she could have gotten a fair trial in that part of Georgia during the time this happened. At least in the movie they didn’t make all the people of Georgia to racist haters like some I have seen. There have always been some good white people that treated black people with respect. It’s sad to say the good whites were far out numbered by the bad though. White people that have spoken out about injustice have also become the victims of injustice by other whites. It is too little, many years too late but Lena Baker was pardoned of murder 60 years later. The most she have ever been tried for should have been manslaughter.

  3. It was so upsetting to me that this had happened to this woman. But its even more upsetting to me because I was never taught about Lena Baker. I’m from Georgia and I never learned about her in any of the schools I have attended. She should have gotten a fair trial and really she didn’t deserve even a 15 year sentence for what she did. I believe that she was being honest about the situation but when I saw the movie I noticed that she wasn’t being that bright either. If the man were to keep coming back for me when I wanted to be left alone, I would have at least moved as far away as I possibly could for the safety of me and my children. But I am so glad I got the opportunity to learn of her now. Most importantly I feel the deepest sympathy for her children especially the oldest one because he knew what was going to happen to his mother. I personally don’t know how I would have taken that kind of news and its even harder to try to move on without her. But at least she won’t have to suffer anymore and may her soul rest.

    • Ladyblkjack Says:

      Zsa-Zsa, unfortunately in 1945 (and even now) it was not so easy to just pick up and move as far away as one could. It’s hard for an educated person to do that much less a poor uneducated alcohol addicted african american woman with three children. There was virtually no way out.

  4. there are so many stories we dont know about of how our and other people were treated. god be with them all

  5. that was wrong.

  6. you either are ignorant, foolush racist or all of the above! Your lack of insight to the truth and facts regsardinig this case is alarming. One of the largest downfall of the internet, is thaet ANY moron can have a website or blog.

  7. TINA BEAUGARD Says:

    I JUST WATCHED THE MOVIE LAST NIGHT. IT MAKE ME SICK 2 MY GUT TO KNOW THAT WHITE PEOPLE COULD B THAT DAM CRUEL. I CANT SAY WHAT I WOULD’VE DONE BACK THEN IF I WAS HER. BECAUSE EITHER WAY IT WENT SHE WAS N A NO WIN SITUATION.

  8. Sharon Curtis Says:

    Hollywood movies are not always accurate and ,often leave out important facts.

  9. Renee Says:

    The sad part about this piece of history, is its just that, HISTORY! Why do they refuse to teach us about this part of our history. Its important for ALL races of people. If we all knew the truth about where we came from and how our ancestors treated people and where treated, maybe we would treat each other with more respect.

  10. Tarell Bownes Says:

    My heart really broke watching this true story. I see a woman who was a victim of the time. I, also, see a woman who was a follower, weak, and scared. Why didn’t she just leave town?? She did not have to continue her actions, but I think she knew no better. She was kind of “slow” mentally I believe. She made some wrong decisions, but I don’t believe she could have mentally done any better. She did not really listen to people’s advice. She did not have the strength to leave.

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