The Lena Baker Story

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The Lena Baker Story
Lena Baker Poster.png
Theatrical release poster, photography by Guy R. Gane
Directed by Ralph Wilcox
Produced by Dennis Johnson
Ralph Wilcox
Written by Ralph Wilcox
Based on Hope & Redemption
by Lela Bond Phillips
Starring Tichina Arnold
Peter Coyote
Distributed by American World Pictures
Release date
  • April 10, 2008 (2008-04-10)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Hope & Redemption: The Lena Baker Story is a 2008 film adaptation of the book by Lela Bond Phillips, which chronicles the life and death of Lena Baker, an African-American woman in Georgia who was convicted in 1945 of capital murder and was the only woman to be executed by electric chair. She was posthumously pardoned by the state in 2005. The film was written for the screen and directed by Ralph Wilcox and stars Tichina Arnold and Peter Coyote.

As the opening night premiere film for the 2008 Atlanta Film Festival, it sold out. The film was also screened at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2008.[1]


The film chronicles the life of Lena Baker, born to a sharecropper family, who later worked as a maid in a small county town to support her three children. Convicted in 1945 of capital murder by an all-white, male jury, Baker was the only woman in Georgia to be executed by the electric chair. Baker had claimed self-defense in the fatal shooting of her employer, Ernest Knight, during a struggle. He was an abusive drunk who had forced the 44-year-old woman into a sexual relationship and sometimes held her at his place against her will. She was posthumously pardoned in 2005.



  1. ^ Longino, Bob (April 11, 2008). "'Lena Baker' opens Atlanta fest, will soon hit Cannes Market". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on November 23, 2009. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 

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