After many people had made their peace with the idea of Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis’ life ending at 7 p.m. on September 21, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Courts just after 7 p.m. issued a call for a “temporary delay” of his death, but then again at 10:20 said it would not block the execution. Officials then announced that Davis was executed at 11:08 p.m.
The planned execution of Davis for the 1989 murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail topped news broadcasts on every major American television station Wednesday. Protests against the execution were staged globally in cities from Oslo and Paris to New York and Atlanta. The online television and radio program Democracy Now had scheduled a live stream broadcast from outside the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison at Jackson, where Davis was executed, to last from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The broadcast instead, with host Amy Goodman, lasted for four hours beyond that scheduled time.
Davis himself issued a letter to supporters in which he stated: “The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.”
Moreover, according to the group of media witnesses who were allowed to watch the actual execution, Davis “went quietly” but maintained his innocence until the very end. “May God bless you,” he said to the guards and executioner. “And may God have mercy on your souls.”
Funerals and Miracles
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous stated early in the evening and again later on: “We came here prepared for either a miracle or a funeral and we’ve witnessed both.” He added that, “every minute beyond the scheduled time of death was a miracle.”
Rev. Raphael Warnock of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta said he hoped the Davis case would act as a catalyst to encourage more people to challenge the use of capital punishment in the United States. Despite the evening’s ultimate outcome, he noted that, “She may not know it yet, but America is being transformed tonight.”
This is the 16th installment of Aberjhani’s Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis Series. For part one, please click here. To make sure you catch future installments, please sign up for a free subscription.
Aberjhani, founder of Creative Thinkers International
author of The River of Winged Dreams
and co-author of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
Read More of Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis
- Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 17: 1st Anniversary of the Execution
- Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis No. 15: Board Denies Clemency
- Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis 1 The Inmate on Death Row
- Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis 2 The World and Mr. Davis
- Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis 3 The Slain Officer MacPhail
- Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis 4 The Grass Roots Response
- Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis 5 Race Death and Justice in America
- Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis 6 Supreme Court Says Yes
- Savannah Talks Troy Anthony Davis 7 Twentieth Anniversary