Thomas, one of two black Alexandrians murdered by lynch mobs, was 16 when he was hanged and shot at the corner of King and Fairfax streets in 1899.
According to the City of Alexandria:
Thomas was arrested on Monday, August 7, 1899, for allegedly assaulting a white girl, but this was never proven. That night, Black community leaders warned police and the mayor that another lynching might occur, similar to the lynching of Joseph McCoy two years earlier on April 23, 1897. When the authorities refused their entreaties, the African American Alexandrians tried to protect Thomas themselves, standing guard near where he was being held. The police arrested them, and the next morning, they were, tried, fined and sent to the chain gang. The next night, somewhere between 500 and 2000 Alexandrians took Benjamin Thomas from the city jail on St. Asaph Street, dragged him over cobblestones for half-a-mile to the corner of King and Fairfax Streets where they hanged and shot the young man.
The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. at 401 N. St. Asaph Street.
“Participants will be invited to solemnly walk the half-mile trail the lynch mob took down St. Asaph Street to King Street and then to the intersection with Fairfax Street,” the city’s website said. “Upon arriving at the site of the lynching of Benjamin Thomas we will hold a wreath-laying ceremony.”
City Hall, the lamp post where Thomas was lynched, and the George Washington Masonic Memorial will be lit up in purple to commemorate Thomas.
Image via City of Alexandria
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If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).
ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.
This year, ATC plans to significantly increase the size of the program to reach over 250 students and to serve every elementary school in Alexandria. This is very exciting news, but we will only succeed if we can recruit more tutors. ATC trains you, matches you with a child, and provides ongoing lesson materials and support.
If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!
In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!
We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.
Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!
This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA