The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 69/No. 41           October 24, 2005  
Lena Baker
On August 30, Lena Baker was granted a posthumous pardon by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. Sixty years earlier, the board had rejected her application for clemency and Baker was electrocuted on March 5, 1945.

A Black woman, Baker was convicted of murdering her white employer by an all-white, all-male jury. Her trial lasted less than one day. Baker’s only defense was her own statement in which she pleaded self-defense. Her court-appointed lawyer called no witnesses.

Baker had been hired to care for Ernest Knight, a Cuthbert, Georgia, grist mill owner, who had broken his leg. In her trial statement, Baker told of the abusive treatment she had suffered from Knight. On the night of the fatal shooting, Baker said her employer threatened her with a gun. She got the gun away from him but he grabbed a piece of iron. “I didn’t know but what he meant to hit me with it. I believe he would have killed me if I had not done what I did,” she said.

The pardon did not absolve Baker of the crime. But it said not granting clemency was “a grievous error as this case called out for mercy.”

Cheryl Goertz
Atlanta, Georgia
Cypriot Stalinists in WWII
During WWII the most influential organization of workers and farmers on Cyprus was the Communist Party, re-founded in 1941 as AKEL. Looking to Moscow for leadership, it suspended demands for self rule to support the war efforts of their colonial masters in London. The majority of their leadership and 800 members enlisted in the Cyprus Regiment, under British command. They claimed this was the road to sovereignty. This was the polar opposite of what the Puerto Rican nationalists did, which the Militant recently reported.

After the war no independence came. Not even unemployment compensation for returning soldiers. In 1960 Cyprus became independent, with institutionalized communal divisions and immense British bases.

Natasha Terlexis
Athens, Greece
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home