#August 14, 1936: America’s Last Public Hanging

On this day, August 14, 1936 a crowd estimated at 10,000 to 20,000 gathered at Owensboro, Kentucky, to watch the last ever public hanging in the United States. The fact that the prisoner was a young black man and that the sheriff overseeing the execution was a white woman intensified the interest of both the public and the Press and, as a result, reporters from across the country arrived to cover the event. In details, a certain black guy named Rainey Bethea, 22, had been found guilty of raping a…

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