Post Content

Committee Established to Research Lynchings in Alexandria’s History

Officially, there are two lynchings in Alexandria’s history, but a new investigation by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) hopes to discover whether there were more that went unrecorded.

The two documented lynchings were of Joseph McCoy in 1897 and Benjamin Thomas in 1899. At a meeting of the Equal Justice Initiative on Nov. 16, Audrey Davis, director of Alexandria’s Black History Museum, said that one of the seven committees in EJI’s Alexandria branch is dedicated to conducting research to “find out if there were any other lynchings in Alexandria we’re not aware of.”

Davis said the committee is also researching McCoy and Thomas to see if they have any living descendants.

Eventually, Davis said the EJI hopes to collect soil from the two lynching sites and hold a marker dedication at or near those locations. The group is planning a trip to claim a marker from the Community Remembrance Project, an effort dedicated to cataloging racial violence in the United States between the end of reconstruction in 1877 and 1950.

“Restorative justice for 1890s racial terror [means] acknowledging the shameful past through commemorative events, marker placement, public programming and research,” Davis said. “We hope to install markers around the city and will follow city guidelines for signage.”

Krystyn Moon, president of the Alexandria Historical Society, said that mob violence was used in Alexandria as a tool of oppression.

“Violence is, of course, used to reinforce the racial status quo, here in Virginia and here in Alexandria,” Moon said.

Moon said the violence was not limited to the two recorded lynchings. On Dec. 26, 1865, a group of Confederate veterans attacked black residents of Alexandria and there was one reported death. Unlike so many other times in American history when perpetrators of racial violence against the black community were not brought to justice, the mob in this case faced punishment.

“What’s extraordinary is not just that we had a riot, but the fact that a military tribunal was convened and found 11 members guilty and sent them to jail,” Moon said.

Aside from the two known lynchings, Moon said there were at least three other instances — two in 1904 and one in 1922 — of individuals who were threatened with lynching and had to be moved out of Alexandria and to Fort Meyer for their protection.

The next meeting of the EJI in Alexandria is scheduled for Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Beth El Hebrew Congregation (3830 Seminary Road).

Photo via City of Alexandria

Recent Stories

(Updated 2:25 p.m.) The Alexandria Police Department (APD) is investigating a suspicious death at The Bloom at Braddock Apartments on the 900 block of North Henry Street in the Braddock…

Got any spare drugs? In an effort to curb misuse, Alexandria is asking residents to drop off expired prescription medication on Saturday (April 27). It’s National Prescription Drug Take Back…

Alexandria’s City Council will approve its fiscal year 2025 budget in a little more than a week, and important actions will be taken between now and then. On Wednesday (April…

Alexandria is seeking community feedback on a series of changes to South Pickett Street in the West End, including new pedestrian safety measures and protected bike lanes. The project would…

To celebrate Air Quality Awareness Week (May 6-10, 2024), Clean Air Partners is working with A Few Cool Hardware Stores to exchange DC, Maryland and Virginia residents’ gas-powered lawnmowers, trimmers, and leaf blowers at select Ace Hardware locations in the region. DMV residents who turn in their gas-powered lawn tools will receive a FREE Ego Power+ replacement including batteries and chargers, while supplies last.

Compared to gas, electric lawn equipment can reduce emissions, noise pollution, health risks and maintenance costs and time. The program aims to remove about a hundred gas-powered polluting tools from yards in the greater Baltimore-Washington region.

The exchanges will take place the weekends of May 17-19, 2024, and May 31-June 2, 2024, at A Few Cool Hardware Stores network of employee-owned Ace Hardware stores in the DC and Baltimore metro areas. To participate and get your free Ego Power+ lawn tool, sign up at https://qrco.de/CAPExchange to reserve your tool and select your trade-in date and location.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Pro Coro Alexandria – To the Sea

Join Pro Coro Alexandria, the chamber choir of the Alexandria Choral Society, this Saturday for our concert, “To the Sea.” Experience a variety of songs from beloved choral classics like “Shenandoah” and “What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor?”

Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Annual Gala & Auction

Do good while having a good time at the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria’s 38th Annual Gala and Auction at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center. The fun begins with a 2-hour open bar reception while mingling with 499 other Alexandrians who

×

Subscribe to our mailing list