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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Charlottesville, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Lynching in America / Lynching of John Henry James

Community Remembrance Project

 
 
Lynching in America side of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, July 22, 2020
1. Lynching in America side of Marker
Inscription.  
Lynching in America.
Thousands of African Americans were the victims of lynching and racial violence in the United States between 1877 and 1950. During this era, racial terror lynching of African Americans emerged as a stunning form of violent resistance to emancipation and equal rights for African Americans, intended to intimidate black people and enforce racial hierarchy and segregation. Racial terror lynching was most prevalent in the South and was used to uphold white supremacy and enforce decades of political, social, and economic exploitation. Racial terror lynching became the most public and notorious form of subordination directed at black people and was frequently tolerated or even supported by law enforcement and elected officials illustrating the failure of the criminal justice system to afford black people equal justice under law. White mobs were usually permitted to engage in brutal violence with impunity. Many black people were pulled out of jails or given over to mobs by law enforcement officials who were legally required to protect them. Even without any evidence, whites' allegations against black
Lynching of John Henry James side of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, July 22, 2020
2. Lynching of John Henry James side of Marker
people often sparked violent reprisal. Terror lynchings often included burnings and mutilations, sometimes in front of crowds numbering in the thousands. Many of the victims of these acts of violence were not recorded by name and remain unknown, but over 84 victims were documented in Virginia alone.

Lynching of John Henry James.
In 1898, a black man named John Henry James lived and worked in Charlottesville as an ice cream vendor. He had only been a resident of the area for five or six years before July 11th, 1898, when he was falsely accused of assaulting a white woman and arrested. The police transferred Mr. James to Staunton that evening to avoid a potential lynching, but officers escorted him back to Charlottesville the next morning by train. While en route, an armed mob of 150 white men stopped the train at Wood's Crossing in Albemarle County, and seized Mr. James. Learning of the mob's attack, a group of black men tried to stop the lynch mob but were outnumbered and forced to retreat. The white mob threw a rope over Mr. James's neck and dragged him about 40 yards away to a small locust tree. Despite his protest of innocence, the mob hanged Mr. James and riddled his body with dozens of bullets. The Richmond Planet, an African American newspaper, reported that as his body hung for many hours, hundreds more white people streamed by, cutting
Lynching of John Henry James/Lynching in America Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, July 22, 2020
3. Lynching of John Henry James/Lynching in America Marker
off pieces of his clothing, body and the locust tree to carry away as souvenirs. The grand jury, interrupted by news of the lynching, issued a posthumous indictment, as if Mr. James were still alive. Despite the presence of the Charlottesville police chief and Albemarle County sheriff, no one was ever charged or held accountable for the murder of John Henry James.
 
Erected 2019 by The Equal Justice Initiative.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsLaw Enforcement. In addition, it is included in the Lynching in America series list.
 
Location. 38° 1.887′ N, 78° 28.636′ W. Marker is in Charlottesville, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Park Street and Jefferson Street, on the left when traveling north on Park Street. Marker is in courthouse square. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charlottesville VA 22902, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic Courthouse Square (a few steps from this marker); Site of Old Swan Tavern (a few steps from this marker); Monticello (within shouting distance of this marker); Watering Fountains (within shouting distance of this marker); Jack Jouett’s Ride
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(within shouting distance of this marker); Meriwether Lewis (within shouting distance of this marker); Thomas Jonathan Jackson (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Paul Goodloe McIntire (about 300 feet away).
 
Also see . . .  Lynching of John Henry James. (Submitted on February 4, 2021, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 20, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 4, 2021, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 62 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 4, 2021, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.
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Mar. 8, 2021