More than 70 years after their execution, seven black men were awarded pardons for alleged rape.
A GROUP OF YOUNG BLACK MEN who were convicted of the alleged rape of a white woman by all-White jury have been pardoned 70 YEARS AFTER THEY DIED.
On January 8, 1949, Ruby Stroud Floyd, 32, went to a predominately Black neighborhood in Martinsville, Virginia, to collect money for garments she had sold and was raped by the seven males. On February 2, 1951, four of the men were electrocuted in Virginia’s electric chair, while the other three were electrocuted three days later. Governor Ralph Northam issued posthumous pardons to the seven young men known as the “Martinsville Seven” earlier this week.
“While these pardons do not resolve the seven men’s guilt, they serve as acknowledgement from the Commonwealth that these men were prosecuted without appropriate due process and suffered a racially discriminatory death sentence not similarly applied to white defendants,” Mr Northam’s office said on Tuesday.
“No matter who you are or how you appear, we all deserve a criminal justice system that is fair, egalitarian, and gets it right.
“I am grateful to the Martinsville Seven’s advocates and families for their dedication and perseverance.”
The men’s families claimed that their relatives were interrogated under duress, without the presence of a lawyer, and that their confessions were extracted with the fear of mob violence.
With the men’s descendants present, Mr. Northam ceremonially signed pardons for Francis DeSales Grayson, 37; Booker T. Millner, 19; Frank Hairston Jr., 19; Howard Lee Hairston, 18; James Luther Hairston, 20; Joe Henry Hampton, 19; and John Claybon Taylor, 21.
The Martinville 7 Coalition, which includes family members and community supporters, has been lobbying for a posthumous pardon since last year, according to Central Virginia’s TV channel WWBT.
“They did not deserve to die,” James Grayson, Francis DeSales Grayson’s son, stated.
“Governor Northam should apologize to the families of these seven individuals, stating that they were wrongfully executed.
“It’s never too late to make amends.”
“I was horrified by this incident,” said Curtis Millner, who was nine when his cousin Booker T. Millner was executed.
“I’m looking for a way to put this behind me.”
According to CNN, Virginia had executed more people than any other state before the death penalty was abolished earlier this year – and studies have confirmed this. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”