George Stinney Jr.’s Mugshot
George Stinney Jr.’s Mugshot

Remembering George Stinney Jr.

The youngest person in the history of the United States to be executed-framed in the name of racism.

March 19, 2019

Most do not recognize the name George Stinney Jr. His story was horrific, ground-breaking, and incredibly devastating, yet when asked if they know the name, most will shake their heads. This is a perfect example of the racist culture we live in. George’s story is one of the thousands of cases in America that were unjust and discriminatory. This is what happened to him.

George lived in South Carolina. He was fourteen years old at the time and lived with his mother, his father, and his younger sister. They were a black family living in the South, during the era of excessive Jim Crow laws.

In the winter of 1944, Mary Emma Thames (8) and Betty June Binnicker (11) were found murdered in the woods near George’s house; they were beaten to death, and they were both white.

Without any real evidence, and without George’s parents present, police arrested fourteen-year-old George in his home. He was questioned for a very short amount of time, again without his parents present and without an attorney present. His trial was extremely short; it only lasted two hours, and the judge sentenced him in a matter of minutes. An all-white jury was present, but no witnesses were even called to be there. No documentation remains of a so-called confession or even of the trial.

George lived in a cell for eighty-one days after that, clutching a bible to his chest and swearing his innocence to anyone who would listen. Authorities denied him visitation with his parents or sister.

On June 16th, 1944, George was executed by electric chair, making him the youngest person to be executed in the United States.

You might be familiar with the Tom Hanks movie, or the book written by Stephen King, The Green Mile. Released in 1999, the character “John Coffey” was inspired by George’s story; with alterations, of course. In this story, “John” was an adult man convicted of the same crime the real fourteen-year-old boy was executed for.

In 2014, George’s case was reopened and he was found innocent. As it turns out, the weapon used to murder Mary and Betty was heavier than all of George’s body weight. There was no possible way for him to even lift the weapon. George had nothing to do with the case, except for that the police needed someone to blame.

Now you know George Stinney Jr.’s name, and what happened to him. What is important now is the recognition of the fact that similar situations to George’s are absolutely countless in America. Hate crimes were the norm, and the death penalty is still a (highly controversial) consequence for some; America’s history is built on a system of oppression and hatred. To deny this would be casting aside the life and importance of George Stinney Jr. and everyone he represents.

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Abigail Gallen, Staff Writer

My name is Abigail Gallen, and I am a sophomore at North Allegheny. One of my biggest passions is politics/activism, and most of my stories are politically...

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  • K

    Karen…Jan 11, 2022 at 10:59 pm

    I think it’s sad how they made money off someone’s execution and then say in 2014 he was proven innocent like really then you look it up to try to find out if Green Mile was based off a true story they say it’s complicated like really WOW there’s no Justification for this people really hate because of color and the nothing to be done about it..

    Reply
  • D

    DebraNov 30, 2021 at 3:37 am

    I just watched The Green Mile for my second time. One of the best movies ever made and now learning it was partially based on a true event of an innocent 14 year old boy, George Stinney Jr. I cried and my heart is so broken to learn this. The more I learn of America’s True History (not the fake stuff that the white rich historians want us to believe) the sadder my heart is.

    Reply
  • J

    JessicaJul 26, 2021 at 8:13 am

    I cannot imagine how horrible it must have been for him and his family. We are in such a horrible world. I feel so bad that a child so young had to endure something as horrific as that. I always think of the pain he would have had to do through. I hope he is in a better place now

    Reply
  • D

    Debra L CookJul 17, 2021 at 1:06 am

    There is lots of racism in this USA. But it’s not just from whites. Blacks are the most rasist people now a days. Not saying that whites and others aren’t rasist, just that most of the racism in America comes from blacks.

    Reply
    • O

      OrianaNov 26, 2021 at 5:33 pm

      Black people racism is a subject of his or her environment. And it’s a shame you don’t understand the hate you are now spewing.

      Reply
    • C

      CarsonNov 26, 2021 at 6:54 pm

      Debra, even if that were true, where do you think they learned it from? Where is your accountability and compassion?

      Reply
    • L

      Lisa GiffordNov 26, 2021 at 7:59 pm

      You are absolutely correct… if we all stand as a unit, we won’t break. I’m not sure who Debra L Cook, is referring to when she says “they” I can only guess she is referring to our government and/or media, but Debra is without a doubt correct….when all the attention is purposely focused on a particular subject/topic, it’s to keep the attention off of what should be a priority. Imagine if we were all blind, and deaf…I wonder if acceptance would truly be without color and compassion would exist

      Reply
  • D

    Debra L CookJun 4, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Im white, but guess what? I have African, from northern Africa, Im Spanish, mostly French Candian , and a bunch others. What they did was SOOOOO wrong. WE ALL BLEED RED!!!!! This is absolutely ridiculous for racism to carry on so long. We are falling in with what they want, fight against each other, then you won’t know what they are doing. Join together as one, instead of fighting each other.

    Reply
  • C

    Christopher StrukMay 11, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    We do still live in a racist society, but I believe it is getting better. And, to the person who said everyone is racist; that is not true. I am a white man who is not racist at all.

    Reply
  • L

    Linda S duncanMay 8, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Racism is taught at a young age by both whites and blacks. I’m glad my parents didn’t teach me that!

    Reply
  • R

    RandolphApr 27, 2021 at 4:04 am

    Still waiting for someone to verify this story led to Stephen King’s Green Mile.
    Like most of today’s hype, racism can be fond in every aspect of life if that’s what you want to find.
    Truth is that most black people are treated fairly over and beyond what white Americans can expect to receive from the vast majority of black people and the media.
    Time to stop looking at how you perceive you are being treated and just treat everyone with the same respect you would like to receive.

    Reply
  • B

    BucApr 16, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    @Robby I’m with you. Racism today is an interpretation. There are few actual racist people left in this country. Back in the day though. Absolutely.

    Reply
  • A

    AmandaMar 5, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    This is a heart breaking story and terrible that people of colour were treated in this way.
    I hope people learn from their mistakes and learn to accept people for who they are.

    Reply
  • D

    Deborah D DurkeeFeb 25, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    This is a heartbreaking story the true story George stinney Jr did not have a snowball’s chance in hell no lawyer present no family or nothing my heart goes out to his family our existing family today just goes to show you how bad racism sucks on this planet we live in my heart goes out to him and The Green Mile was an excellent movie I still watch it even now but my heart goes to George and his family rest in peace little one now that everyone knows the truth you are innocent

    Reply
  • L

    L F KINGFeb 21, 2021 at 10:09 pm

    You state that Stephen King based the character of John Coffey on Stinney…can you provide/confirm your source for that declaration? Did you confirm this with King or his reps? It’s confusing, because some of Kings reps state clearly that the Green Mile was NOT based on that case….Source please?

    Reply
    • K

      Karen…Jan 11, 2022 at 10:50 pm

      Some people just can’t stay focused.. the store is about the baby boy that was wrongfully convicted of a crime less than two hours sat in jail a little over three months never once seeing him parents and then they kill him and think because he was Exonerated in 2014 Basic it makes it out NO and then to make money off a movie then when asked if Green Miles was true are not they it’s Complicated like WOW this in they America

      Reply
  • M

    MoonLightOnWaterFeb 8, 2021 at 10:46 am

    Very tragic and disgusting story of just a snippet of the atrocities during Jim Crow America. Rest in heaven, young George. May your soul know freedom from oppression and racism even when your small body did not.

    Reply
  • 1

    101st ARMY VeteranJan 12, 2021 at 2:44 am

    Those who keep saying we don’t live in a racist country, I assume you have never dealt with racism yourself. I am an American Veteran of color and even though I have served my country I still have to deal with racism. I have heard and seen a lot of white “Patriots” who claim they support the troops and what we are fighting for yet still discriminate people like myself, then as I tell them I am Veteran you see how ridiculous they sound. It is then when I am “accepted “ like wow so in order for me to be accepted I must go through a traumatic experience. Even though I have categorized people in this statement I do my best not too, however I have not had another race discriminate against me besides white people

    Reply
  • D

    [email protected]Jan 3, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    I laughed at all people with negative thoughts because I don’t expect you to understand what happened when you don’t understand who is God and what he expect because your blind you can’t see you need to ware sun glasses like DMC

    Reply
  • J

    Jacqueline PirmohamedOct 5, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Robby we very sadly do still live in a racist and often bigoted society. I am a white person married to a person of colour for over 35 years. We have two children and have often faced racism during life. But thankfully not everybody Is racist and it’s important to also acknowledge this. We all need to work together proactively to educate society and remove all forms of prejudice from every walk of life. Let’s recognise this challenge and all work to address it. We can lead positive change by example.

    Reply
  • J

    JamesJul 30, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Very sad how people think so one sided..America and other countries have a history of racism,slavery, and hate. The sad part of it all is people don’t appreciate how America has constantly (sometimes slowly) gotten better and continues to fight to get better . Not everyone is (RACIST) many or most whites fought against racism or slavery and segregation. And continue that fight. I believe the race problem today to be politicized by the left. But that’s a whole nother subject if there really were race problems that were out of control people wouldn’t need to make up hate crimes. As 4 ppl have in last year..some ppl are just angry..and look for stuff to complain about..some are angry and take it out on others who happen to be a different color..racism exist .but we do not live in a racist country.

    Reply
  • L

    LEE MEANSJun 18, 2020 at 8:38 am

    In answer to that or any individual who feels that American history is not filled with countless incidents of Bias and Injustices towards People of Color, My Prayer is that the current events will wake them up. The only way to Change Times and People is to admit that these Biases and Injustices exist

    Reply
  • K

    Karina AlvaradoJun 7, 2020 at 12:55 am

    Racism exists as evidence shows in the past months with murders happening across the US and black community getting hammered by white racist police. No peace.

    Reply
  • K

    Kyleef WashingtonJun 4, 2020 at 7:08 am

    God please help us all and god please make my grave spacious and comfortable #icantbreath

    Reply
  • N

    Not in my nameMay 31, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Is Robbys comment satire?

    Reply
  • R

    RobertFeb 7, 2020 at 3:19 am

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I hope that now a days it is different. Hold on it really isn’t as people of color, sex, and disability still get the finger first point at them as I would now as I’m disabled myself.

    P. S.
    May George Stinney Jr. rest in peace

    Reply
  • F

    FrankieNov 14, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    @Robby must be nice living under a rock

    Reply
  • P

    Priscilla HinojosaNov 13, 2019 at 11:29 am

    car acid** my bad.

    Reply
  • P

    Priscilla HinojosaNov 7, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    @Robby, we definitely live in a racist culture NOW. nothing new, everyone is so racist and mean to people of color. Someone got burned with oil acid just because they “looked” mexican but he was a US resident. a lot now. that’s all. your comment is very triggering.

    Reply
    • R

      Ryan NashNov 8, 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Wait, by oil acid do you mean oleic acid?

      Reply
  • R

    RobbyMar 22, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    We don’t now live in a racist culture, maybe in the past but definitely not now

    Reply