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Albemarle County Judge rights the wrongs of 125-year-old indictment and lynching of John Henry James

Jul 15, 2023 | News, Racism, Social Justice Rights, Top Stories | 0 comments

Albemarle County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, with research assistance from the University of Virginia, (sought) to right a 125-year wrong: the unlawful indictment of a Black man who in 1898 had been accused of sexual assault of a white woman.

Albemarle’s current prosecutor said that even at the time of the alleged assault it wasn’t certain police arrested the right man. But before the case could go to court – in fact just a day after the arrest – a mob of 150 or more unmasked people lynched John Henry James on the outskirts of Charlottesville, just miles from UVA on Ivy Road. Read more at News UVA Today.

CBS19 Charlottesville gave great video coverage (2:20) to this court case on Wednesday July 12, 2023, including our weekly Wednesday silent vigil in witness to People of Color harmed by fellow Americans, then and now. Join us from 12:30-1:30. The vigil has been maintained for 3 years now, since the murder of George Floyd.

The court case is a big deal and represents years of struggle to bring social justice forward. I was happy to see Senator Creigh Deeds in the first row. The court room was packed and overflowed to an additional televised room. All in the same week when Judge rejects reparations for Tulsa race massacre in ‘sad miscarriage of justice’, July 9, 2023, The Guardian.

Sandy Hausman, for NPR was there. Check out Sandy’s short radio coverage here.

Our friend and fellow vigiler, Freeman Allan, is quoted in two articles. Freeman is in the process of publishing a book on A History of Racism in Charlottesville – A  Journey Toward Understanding.

The plaque commemorating the lynching of John Henry James at Charlottesville’s Court Square, is the result of work the Charlottesville, Albemarle community in collaboration with the Community Remembrance Project of the Equal Justice Initiative.

A parallel story, “Fellow activist organizes truth and reconciliation for
murdered ancestor deep in Mississippi past” was published in the Friends of Buckingham newsletter #164.

Freeman Allan, a long time activist and Albemarle resident, has been writing several books on his very interesting mixed ethnic ancestry. This current project was inspired by his discoveries and passion for carrying forward truth with justice. Check out this excellent article in published 6/8/2023:

 Brutal 1757 execution remembered as tribe’s descendants
honor ancestor at Moon Walk

The black marker stands at the location where Baudrau died
on a breaking wheel 266 years ago

VACRN supports these social justice initiatives.


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