Facing Controversy: Struggling with Capital Punishment in North Carolina

1970: Marion Wright to Reverend Billy Graham

This letter was written by Marion Wright, former president of the death penalty abolition lobby group North Carolinians Against the Death Penalty, to Reverend Billy Graham with the goal of having Graham issue a formal statement against the practice of capital punishment. Graham never responded personally to Wright's request. However, several months after this letter, a "spiritual counselor" from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association responded with a statement saying, "As Christians it is our responsibility to so permeate society with the message of Christ that society will not produce the murderer. Until this is accomplished the state must use its best method to deter further killing of the innocent."

(Image from Marion Wright Papers, #3830, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

1970: Marion Wright to Reverend Billy Graham

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