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91 years later, murder conviction overturned | Morning Newsletter

And art for art’s sake

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

There’s rain in the forecast but expect temperatures to remain in the 80s today.

We have the story of the Delaware County teen who was convicted and later executed in the 1930 stabbing death of a staffer at Glen Mills School, but was exonerated posthumously this week after his family spent decades trying to prove his innocence.

Also, through this interactive visual, we explore the artwork of Sean Scully, who made it his mission to “save abstract art.” His work is now on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

And do you remember little Mo’ne Davis? Well, she’s no longer little and here’s how she’s inspiring a whole generation of young athletes who want to be just like her.

The weekend is so close I can taste it.

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr,

There’s not much more that I can say that would be better than the first few paragraphs of this incredible story.

In 1931, an all-white jury took just four hours to convict Alexander McClay Williams, a Black teenager, in the stabbing death of a matron at the Glen Mills School for Boys in Delaware County.

Five months later, Williams, 16, was executed, becoming the youngest person in Pennsylvania history to be put to death. His family spent decades trying to prove his innocence, and this week — with help from the great-grandson of the lawyer who represented him at trial — Williams was posthumously vindicated.

A Delaware County judge overturned his conviction for a crime prosecutors now say he did not commit.

The ruling, handed down Monday in the same courtroom where Williams had been convicted 91 years ago, was met with thunderous applause from his relatives, including his only surviving sibling, Susie Williams-Carter.

“I’m just happy that it finally turned out the way it should have in the beginning,” Williams-Carter, 92, told The Inquirer. “We just wanted it overturned because we knew he was innocent, and now we want everyone else to know it, too.

See what I mean? Read the full piece from our reporter Vinny Vella on how a teen received his freedom nearly a century later.

What you should know today

  1. Radnor Township has prohibited its police department from intervening in abortions, in anticipation a Roe v. Wade decision.

  2. Two people arrested in Virginia in connection with the deadly South Street shooting earlier this month have been brought back to Philly to face murder charges.

  3. A strip of Christian Street in Graduate Hospital known as “Black Doctors Row” is one step closer to receiving a historic designation.

  4. Philly now has a second case of monkeypox as the World Health Organization suggests changing the name due to stigma and racial concerns.

  5. Local Coronavirus Numbers: Here’s your daily look at the latest COVID-19 data.

Artist Sean Scully’s exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is called “The Shape of Ideas.” He took time to describe and explain it to us.

Our reporter Stephan Salisbury, interactive designer Sam Morris, and a host of other Inquirer journalists used Scully’s words and art to preview his exhibit, which will be at the Art Museum through July 31.

So grab the headphones or turn up the volume as Scully and our team of journalists invite you to meet the man out to “save abstract art,” one inspirational piece at a time.

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

We’ll know a little after 5 p.m. today whether Lincoln Financial Field will be selected to host matches of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Did you know the first-ever game at the Linc was a soccer match? Today’s question: What were the two teams that opened the Linc? Take a guess and then find the answer here.

a. Chelsea vs. Manchester United

b. Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

c. Barcelona vs. Manchester United

d. United States vs. Mexico

What we’re…

Sharing: The notion that the government wants to bury the safety scores of hospitals from the height of the pandemic.

Revealing: The new standards for sexual education in New Jersey schools will be implemented this fall.

Inviting: You to read this Twitter thread created by our reporter Stephanie Farr hyping her remarkable story on equally remarkable City Council aide Jemille Duncan.

🧩 Unscramble the Anagram 🧩

This Philly singer-songwriter is “Beautifully Human.”


Think you know? Send your guess our way at We’ll give a shoutout to a reader at random who answers correctly. Today’s shoutout goes to Gwendolyn Hinton-Freeman, of Philadelphia, who correctly guessed CEDAR PARK as Wednesday’s answer.

Photo of the day

As always, thanks for starting your morning with The Inquirer. ✌️