The Police Said They’d Kill Him If He Didn’t Confess

black man being strapped in an electric chair
Via Picryl d
L. Graciella Maiolatesi
May 23, 2022

The white woman beckoned 16-year-old delivery boy Jeremiah Reeves inside, and passionately began to undress him – until she saw neighbors watching through her window. “He’s raping me!” She screamed.

Police interrogated him for days until finally, they strapped him to the electric chair. His choice: confess, or fry!

Jeremiah was terrified, so he confessed – despite being the VICTIM in the scenario.

But then police made him take responsibility for every rape locally reported that summer!

Jeremiah was sentenced to death, but our community pushed back! Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP fought for appeal. 

Rosa Parks corresponded with Jeremiah in prison, and he inspired 15-year-old Claudette Colvin to refuse giving up her seat on a bus. Months later, Colvin would inspire Parks to do the same.

The Supreme Court ordered a retrial, but Jeremiah was re-sentenced to death without the ability to appeal.

He was too young for the “minimum executable age,” so they imprisoned him until he was 22. He was then executed on March 28, 1958 – a “legal lynching.”

Jeremiah was accused of rape – when in actuality, he was being hyper-sexualized and assaulted by an adult. We often discuss the impact hypersexualization and adultification have on Black girls, but Black boys need protecting too.

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