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The Eyes of Willie Mcgee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South

ISBN: 9780061284168 | 0061284165
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Harpercollins
Pub. Date: 5/10/2011

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In 1945, a young African-American man from Laurel, Mississippi, was sentenced to death for allegedly raping Willette Hawkins, a white housewife. The case was barely noticed until Bella Abzug, a young New York labor lawyer, was hired to oversee Willie McGee's appeal. Together with William Patterson, a dedicated black reformer, Abzug risked her life to plead the case. ˘Free Willie McGee÷ became an international rallying cry, with supporters flooding President Truman's White House and the U.S. Supreme Court with clemency pleas and famous Americans-including William Faulkner, Albert Einstein, and Norman Mailer-speaking out on McGee's behalf. By 1951, millions worldwide were convinced of McGee's innocence-even though there were serious questions about his claim that the truth involved a secret love affair.

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