It has been nearly 70 years since George Stinney Jr was executed, but his remaining siblings still sound raw with emotion when they talk about it. In amongst the facts, statistics and human rights issues, it's often difficult to get a sense of the boy at the center of it.
"(George) was like my idol, you know." Katherine Stinney Robinson told Sound Portraits.
She had been with him when they encountered the girls. She said that Betty June and Mary Emma had cycled by the Stinney house, looking for may pop flowers. Katherine and George told them that they didn't know where the flowers grew and the girls went away.
Mrs Robinson went on describing her brother. "He was very smart in school, very artistic. He could draw all kinds of things."
This was a view shared by her elder brother Reverend Charles Stinney. In the interview with W.E A.L.L B.E, he explained that George had then returned indoors to complete his homework. He'd been smart in school and that was a great help to their mother, as he could assist her with reading items useful for their household. Rev Stinney continued, "He did a lot of drawing. He was pretty good at that also."
Rev Stinney 'wasn't even 11' on the day that George was arrested for murdering the two girls. He admits to not understanding precisely what was going on, especially since he had been out of the house at the time. Katherine had been home, but she was still none the wiser. She talked about men in suits coming and taking her brother. They gave no reason.
There was barely time for any of them to react, before they were bundled with their parents and other siblings onto a train to Pinewood, South Carolina. They only had the clothes in which they stood, when the family arrived at their maternal grandmother's home. A neighbor had assured them that it was the safest thing to do. She doubted that any harm would come to George. It just didn't seem feasible.
That was no comfort to Amie Stinney though. Mrs Robinson recalled that their mother wouldn't stop crying. Her 'little eyes (were) all swollen', as she prayed endlessly for God to change the minds of her son's captors. She kept repeating over and over again that her son didn't do it.
Their brother's body was sent to them in Pinewood, where he was buried in a family plot close to his grandmother's home.The Stinneys were devout Baptists and took some comfort in the fact that George was now out of harm in Heaven. After his execution, the family leaned upon their faith to cope with his loss.
It took months for his father, George Stinney Sr, to find work, after which he was able to afford the train fare back to their former home. He was able to recover some of their possessions and bring them back to the family.
Rev Stinney simply called it 'a hurting thing'. Both noted that, once George was dead, neither of their parents would discuss it. The children were raised not knowing exactly what had happened, beyond the fact that their brother was dead, until they were adults themselves. But the silence didn't mean that he was forgotten. Their parents never got over it.
Mr and Mrs Stinney are both gone now too. Only one of their four sons and two of their three daughters remain to try and clear George's name. They've both stated outright that no-one in their family ever doubted George's innocence. Any effort to exonerate him has their blessing.