Lena Baker Story, The: Docu of Only Woman to Die in Electric Chair

Lena Baker, the only woman ever sentenced to die in the electric chair in the state of Georgia, finally received a fitting headstone 65 years after her execution and following the DVD release of the feature about her life, The Lena Baker Story.

Baker was just 44 years old when she died in 1945. An impoverished African-American mother in rural Georgia in the early 1900s, Baker inadvertently killed a White man during a struggle in a desperate attempt to break free of a long history of physical and mental abuse. With a dismissive lawyer by her side, a jury of 12 white men found her guilty in a trial and deliberation that, together, lasted less than four hours. She died a barbaric death, requiring several shocks and lasting six minutes.

Due to a long clemency campaign led by her family, Georgia’s Pardon and Parole Board finally granted a posthumous pardon in 2005 – six decades after her execution – ruling that a “grievous error” occurred when she was denied clemency following her trial.

On January 12, there was a headstone dedication ceremony for Lena Baker, 65 years after her death, with family members & friends, at the Mt. Vernon Baptist church in Cuthbert, Georgia, where she once worshipped and is now buried. Baker was finally pardoned.

Based on Baker’s life, the wrenching docu, The Lena Baker Story, is highlighted by a stellar ensemble cast including Tichina Arnold, who expands beyond her notable comedic repertoire as Baker in this moving and critically acclaimed, breakout dramatic performance, Beverly Todd, and Emmy Award-winner Peter Coyote.

The film was written, produced and directed by Ralph Wilcox, CEO of Schusters Cash, a film, television and video production company; owner of Jokara-Micheaux Studio, a 22,000-square-foot movie studio in Colquitt, Georgia; and director of the Southwest Georgia Film Commission.

“We tend to forget history and believe that we’ve all moved on,” says Wilcox. “There has been a lot of progress in our society and race relations, but we need not forget where we have been, lest we repeat our past. And, even though Lena was flawed, this film was an opportunity to give her the voice she was denied 65 years ago … each and everyone one of us deserves that.”