Created by Ann E. Ruthsdottir, Brunswick, ME
Title: 91 Days
Theme: George Junius Stinney Jr.
Materials and techniques: Canvas weight broadcloth, gesso, acrylic paints, printing on fabric, decopage with mod podge, acrylic gel
Did you enjoy this project? Yes! The portrait was a big challenge. Once I was satisfied with that, I finished the rest. However, it was extremely emotionally draining toward the end. Tears still well up in my eyes just thinking about the cruelty of the whole situation.
Yesterday, I found 2 places where I misspelled words. Cannot change at this time.
About: This is about the wrongful conviction, plus hurried execution of a 14 year old boy in small, South Carolina town because of the color of his skin.
Top text on artwork:
“After being strapped on tightly, an electronic cord, similar to a heavy duty extension cord, was connected on top of the helmet.
A face mask was used to cover Stinney’s face from the witnesses. This also meant that Stinney was placed in the dark, similar to being blindfolded.”
Lower text on artwork:
George Junius Stinney, Jr.
1929, October 21: BIRTH
Alcolu, South Carolina, USA
1944, March 23: 2 white girls ages 8 and 11 beaten to death.
1944, March 24: ARRESTED along with his older brother, Johnnie; Johnnie later released.
[His sister Amie said he was with her during the estimated time of killing.]
[Stinney’s cellmate, Wilford Hunter, said Stinney told him, “I didn’t, didn’t do it.”]
When Stinney was arrested, his father was fired from his job at the sawmill. His family was ordered to leave town immediately or endure retribution.
Fearing for their lives, they fled.
Without family visits and support, this unsophisticated by had to endure his trial and death all alone.
1944, April 24: TRIAL 2:30PM: trial begins
SHERIFF [only evidence]: “Stinney confessed”
[no written record; NO corroboration.]
DEFENSE: politically ambitions TAX ATTORNEY, asked for change of venue; DENIED.
NO other witnesses were called.
5:00PM: Jury sent to deliberate.
5:10PM: Jury issues verdict, “GUILTY”.
Stinney’s Attorney chose NOT to appeal.
1944, June 16, 7:30PM: EXECUTION
Stinney was too small [5’-1”, 95 pounds], for the adult sized electric chair.
Phone books and/or the Bible he carried to his execution were needed for a booster seat in order for him to get strapped in and reach the electrified helmet.
2014, December 17: CONVICTION VACATED.