Not that Ernest Knight was well-liked in the community, either.
He wasn’t, but he was white, Baker was black and when she undeniably killed him her fate was effectively sealed.
If you read the transcript and have any understanding of black-white relations, Black women were often subjected to the sexual whims of their white masters, their white bosses, or some white man who had control over their lives or the lives of their families.
"Here is one who resisted and paid the price.” The undertaker who brought her body back to Cuthbert buried her in a grave that went unmarked for five decades, until the congregation of Mount Vernon Baptist Church raised 0 for a concrete slab and marker.
For Baker, a Black maid in the segregated south in the 1940’s, her story was a tough sell to a jury of 12 white men. Her murder trial lasted just a day, without a single witness called by her court-appointed lawyer. John Cole Vodicka, director of an Americus-based inmate advocacy program known as the Prison and Jail Project, said Knight had kept Ms.
And rumors that she was romantically involved with victim E. Baker as his "virtual sex slave." She was his paramour, she was his mistress, and, among other things, his drinking partner.
According to Baker (who reported the killing to County Coroner J. Cox herself and surrendered without any trouble at all) Knight had yet again threatened her life, this time while waving a metal bar and threatening to use it.
The pair struggled and, during the struggle, Baker relieved Knight of a pistol he usually carried and shot him in self-defence. True to form for the time her jury was composed entirely of white men.
But regardless of the facts of the case, Jim Crow justice moved fast. It also ended on August 14, 1944 having taken around two hours if you count the all-white, all-male jury taking only twenty minutes to render a verdict of guilty.
Their relationship had been troublesome from the start.