Mount Mitchell State Park

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Espy's work cited in TIME Magazine

June 8, 2015 edition

The late Watt Espy, an eccentric Alabaman whose passion for this topic produced the most complete record ever made of executions in the U.S., documented nearly 15,000 sanctioned killings from 1608 to 1972. The racial disparity is arresting. In a mostly white America, significantly more blacks than whites were put to death. Whites were almost never executed for crimes—even murder—involving black victims. But blacks were so frequently executed for sexual assault that newspapers could report that a prisoner was hanged or electrocuted “for the usual crime” and everyone would know what that meant.

Click here for the full story

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The author, David von Drehle, is a good friend who wrote a book 25 or so years ago about the death penalty in Florida. It’s called “Among the Lowest of the Dead.” I know that he and I talked a lot about Watt – I can check to see if he mentions Watt in the book. - Mike Radelet

Anonymous said...

I just encountered your items on the Tomfoolery (!) Internet web page. I am Henry Steagall Holman of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I am a descendant of two large Southeast Alabama families.

I grew up in Ozark from 1943 - 1954 and I recall the Espy name. In fact, I seem to recall Watt Espy from Headland.

One of the things I like about living in Alabama is that it is one big front porch. Sooner or later one learns that he is kin to nearly everyone in the state.

Best regards, Hank Holman (04/15)