Dora Wright

Dora Wright

Seven-year-old Annie Williams’ life was short and agonising. For months she was cruelly beaten by her guardian, Dora Wright, 31, and among the other tortures she had to endure was branding with a red-hot poker. Finally she was whipped so severely that she died.

On May 30th, 1903, an Oklahoma jury took 20 minutes to find Dora Wright guilty of the child’s murder but declined to recommend life imprisonment. Thus the “negress” as the press called her – she was actually of American Indian origin – was sentenced to die.

She was hanged on Friday, July 17th, 1903, alongside a white man, Charles Barrett, also convicted of murder. The double execution was carried out in public in a “carnival atmosphere” but, according to press reports, Wright “mounted the scaffold without a tremor.”