The Goree Prison All Girl String Band!

Sometime in the early forties, eight inmates of the Goree prison unit formed one of the first all-female country and western singing acts in the country, with millions of radio listeners tuned in. Then they vanished forever.

THEY WERE ONCE a national sensation, one of the first all-female country and western groups in history. They were the Goree All Girl String Band, and every Wednesday evening in the early forties an estimated seven million Americans tuned to WBAP in Fort Worth; just to  listen to a musical variety show that featured a group of Female felons.

They were the Goree Girls, as they had fans around the country. Male admirers sent them candy, money, flowers, and handwritten marriage proposals. Fans traveled hundreds of miles to get a glimpse of them broadcasting live from an auditorium in Huntsville

Like modern fans many the crowd would rush the stage to get their  autographs. But the Girls were quickly escorted away by uniformed guards and driven in a van down U.S. 75 to a two-story dark building called “Goree State Farm” that was Texas’ only penitentiary for women.

The Goree Girls were convicted criminals: serving time for theft, robbery, cattle rustling, and even murder. The Girls had little to remind them of life outside except for photos that they were allowed to tape on the wall of their cells, but in March of 1938 WBAP RADIO in Fort Worth introduced a show  called “Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls”, broadcast from the auditorium of the all-male penitentiary.

There is no way to gauge how many letters received, but it is known that the letters sent to the Goree Girls grew from 32,000 in 1939 to 100,000 in 1941.

But by 1944, “Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls” came to a quiet end.

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