A need to know

On March 25, 2002, I posted some thoughts on the movie Monster’s Ball, including a reference to the execution of James Henry Hampton two years previously (I was a media witness). On Thursday I received an email from someone (no name was provided, just initials) identifying herself as Hampton’s granddaughter.

I have just recently learned that I am the granddaughter of James Henry Hampton, a man you saw executed on March 22, 2000, ironically the night of my junior prom. I’ve been searching for information on him for a while, because my family refuses to tell me even his last name or anything about him. I was only told of his first name and my mother informed me the night of my celebration that my real grandfather was being executed. The only leads I have are the online articles I’ve come across. My friend came across your web log and suggested I e-mail you. So I guess I’ll get to the point. Can you please tell me all that you can remember about my grandfather’s execution? Was he hateful or spiteful? Was he scared and lonely? Regretful? I realize that this man was an atrocity to society but this same man’s blood courses through my veins. I’m the only one in my family who apparently has his color features and love for root beer (only thing mom and grandma ever let slip when I ordered it at a restaurant). So please sir, tell me what you can, to help me in my search for my family’s truths. Thank you for your time.

I replied with a description of the execution and a link to a website with more information about her grandfather. I can only wonder at the woman’s curiosity that she would be moved to ask a stranger to “…tell me all that you can remember about my grandfather’s execution.” As we (the official witnesses) waited for Hampton’s execution, I had many thoughts. That this man might have a granddaughter attending her junior prom was not one of them. Another example of Dr. Weinberger’s Small Pieces Loosely Joined.

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