Tom Joyner isn’t sitting easy after learning his two great-uncles were executed in South Carolina for crimes they didn’t commit and is seeking pardons in their names, according to the Associated Press. During taping for scholar Henry Louis Gates’s documentary, “African American Lives 2,” Joyner learned his ancestors Thomas and Meeks Griffin were convicted of murdering a Confederate Army veteran and sold their 130 acres of land to pay for lawyers. They were killed by electric chair in 1915.
“The records will show they did not do what they were executed for, and maybe now they can rest in peace,” Joyner said on his syndicated show. “It’s very unusual for stories like this to be passed down from generation to generation among African-Americans. As a people, we don’t like to pass along bad news about family.”
Gates and others helped Joyner send a petition to South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford. The pardon would be the first in the state’s history to defendants after death, for a capital murder case. -CJ