The crimes that African Americans committed and did not commit have long been given exceptionally lengthy sentences and/or extreme penalties. One of the worst abuse of justice went to a black woman in Georgia in 1945. She was sentenced to die in the electric chair for killing a white man.
According to the Guardian, Lena Baker shot and killed her employer. But, she contended with an all white male jury that she was just trying to keep him from striking her with a metal bar by shooting him with his own gun. The son of the employer said that they were in a consensual sexual relationship and that he had caught them once and he said, “I took her and beat her until I just did leave life in her.”
Baker was executed on March 5, 1945, and was granted a pardon 60 years later in 2005. The ridiculous penalty marks for Troy Davis and others like him the extreme prejudice granted African Americans in this country. Baker maintained to her very ending breath that she was only protecting herself and shot him in self defense. Baker told authorities that the white man enslaved her and threatened her life if she ever tried to leave.
The pardon was granted because she really should’ve only received something like “voluntary manslaughter”, according to Garland Hunt, the parole board’s vice-chairman. And when she was pardoned he said, “the board did not see the pardon as striking a blow against racial injustice or righting a historical wrong.” Just that it was a “situation that was unique.” he said.
Read more here on what has been done for her since.