Twenty seven years ago today, on December 7, 1982 in Huntsville, the state of Texas carried out its first execution since 1964. Charlie Brooks was the first person executed in Texas after 18 years with no executions. The death penalty had been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972 and then allowed again in a 1976 decision. Charlie Brooks was an African-American. In 1964, Texas had executed five people, all of them were African-Americans.

Since that first Texas execution in 1982, there have been a total of 447 executions in Texas, 24 this year. Executions in Huntsville had begun on February 8, 1924, when five people were executed in the state’s new electric chair in one night, all five were African-Americans. From 1924 to 1964, Texas executed 361 people by electric chair – 63.4% were African-American. It took 40 years from 1924 to 1964 for the state to execute 361 people. In the 27 years since 1982, Texas has executed 447 people, so executions have increased significantly since the early to mid-20th century. 208 of those 447 executions were conducted since Rick Perry became governor in 2000.

Prior to 1924, executions had been carried out by hanging in the counties where the people were convicted.

Five executions are already scheduled in Texas for 2010, including two in January.

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