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Lot # 24: 1936 Rainey Bethea, "America's Last Public Execution" Important Photo with Racial Overtones

Starting Bid: $25.00

Bids: 27 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed




This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "February Collectors Auction 2024",
which ran from 2/19/2024 10:00 PM to
3/9/2024 8:00 PM



In Kentucky in 1936, public executions were still quite the spectacle, bringing out tens of thousands of people to witness the end of convicts under the legal system. Here we see a 22 year old black man named Rainey Bethea with his hands cuffed and being marched up the gallows in Owensboro to meet his fate. The paper caption from the International News notes that more than 20,000 people had turned out to watch! A tragic photo with obvious racial overtones, this was in fact the LAST public execution of anyone in United States history making this a truly important piece of photography that belongs in a museum! The condition and quality are both outstanding and this is among the best of the surviving examples of this event with this one having a full paper caption and stamp on the back from the International News.

Size: 8x10
Designation: Vintage 1
Condition: 4.5/5
Quality: 5/5
Overall Grade: 9.5/10

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