first black woman suffers death penalty in US in almost half a century

A black woman has been executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma. The US Supreme Court and the Oklahoma governor rejected last-minute pleas for a 30-day stay of execution for 41-year-old Wanda Jean Allen. Allen was pronounced dead Friday after receiving a lethal dose of drugs at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Asked if she had any final words, Allen is reported to have said, ''Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.'' She had been convicted of killing a childhood friend and then murdering a female lover while on parole. Protesters, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson, had called for a reprieve for Ms. Allen, alleging she was mentally retarded. The last black woman put to death in the United States was Betty Butler, convicted of murder and executed in Ohio in 1954. The last execution of a woman in Oklahoma took place in 1903 when Dora Wright was hanged for murder. Allen was one of seven Oklahoma death-row inmates scheduled for execution this month. This will break Oklahoma's previous one-month record of four executions in May 1933. The state put 11 prisoners to death in 2000, second only in number to Texas which set a US record of 40 executions last year, BBC reports.