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History

Race

2010

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Full-Text Articles in Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies

The Governor’S Gallows: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain And The Clifton Harris Case, Jason Finkelstein Jun 2010

The Governor’S Gallows: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain And The Clifton Harris Case, Jason Finkelstein

Maine History

In 1867, Auburn was home to one of the most vicious murders committed in the state’s history. Clifton Harris, a southern black teenager, was corralled for questioning and within hours confessed to the crime. He was tried and convicted solely upon his own confession, without any evidence against him. Harris became only the second prisoner ever to be executed in Thomaston State Prison. Indeed, the de facto abolition of the death penalty had taken place nearly three decades earlier, but Governor Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain steadfastly proclaimed that he would carry out Harris’s death sentence in the face of ...