Director: Ralph Wilcox
Producer: Dennis Johnson
Cast: Tichina Arnold, Beverly Todd, Peter Coyote, Michael Rooker
Synopsis: The Lena Baker Story was written, directed, and produced by Ralph Wilcox. It is based on a true story and was inspired by Dr. Lela Bond Phillips’ book Lena Baker Story.
The Lena Baker Story takes place in the early 1900’s through 1945 in Cuthbert, Georgia. It’s the story of one woman’s attempt to rise above the challenges of life, the choices she makes, and the consequences of those choices. The moment she thinks she has overcome her inner demons, she is called to work for Elliot Arthur, a father, a millworker and a drunk. As their relationship unfolds, it becomes strange, strained, and highly unacceptable for the time. Elliot Arthur needs Lena and in return Lena seems to need him. He abuses her and keeps her from her children by imprisoning her in his home. When she has finally had enough, Lena stands up and attempts to break free from the bondage of Elliot Arthur. A struggle ensues, and Elliot Arthur, a white man, is shot by Lena Baker, an African-American woman, on a hot, humid night in Southwest Georgia in 1945.
A jury of 12 white men, her subpoenaed peers, found Lena guilty of murder in less than 6 hours. She received the death penalty as her sentence, earning Lena Baker a place in history as the first and only woman to be sentenced to death by electric chair in the state Georgia. She was pardoned posthumously in 2005.
All names have been changed in the screenplay with the exception of Lena Baker.
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