CRIME: Faith

1 minute read

To Pennsylvania’s Governor George Howard Earle last week went a petition from 468 inmates of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County jail. It asked him to commute the sentence of Negro Inmate William McKinley Blackwell, scheduled to be electrocuted for murdering a rival for the affections of his common-law wife. Said the petition: “We who know him, who have eaten and smoked with him for a year and a half, beseech you to save this man that he may live to see you lead to the constructive expansion of humanity.”

Five hundred prisoners thronged to a regular weekly religious service to pray for Negro Blackwell. Impressed, Warden John McNeil declared that he had seen no such demonstration of faith in a prisoner in his 40 years’ experience, added his name to the petition. Impressed, Governor Earle (who had already reprieved Negro Blackwell once) gave Negro Blackwell another month’s reprieve, directed the pardon board to review his case.

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