Facing Controversy: Struggling with Capital Punishment in North Carolina

5 May 1934: Paul Green to A.P. Kephart.

During the 1920s and 1930s Paul Green was not unequivocably opposed to the death penalty. Green biographer Laurence G. Avery points out in his book, A Paul Green Reader, that Green's views began to shift in the mid-1930s as he began to feel that "no absolute punishment should be based on less than absolute knowledge." (Avery, 237) In this letter from 1934, Green expresses his views at the time, writing, "I am not entirely against capital punishment as such, for from the true horticulturist point of view there are evil members to be pruned out, but I am absolutely opposed to it...as it is carried out in North Carolina."

(Image from Paul Green Papers, #3693, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

5 May 1934: Paul Green to A.P. Kephart

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