Virginia Gov. Grants Posthumous Pardons to 7 Black Men Executed in 1951

HeadlineSep 01, 2021

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has granted posthumous pardons to seven Black men who were executed in 1951 after being convicted of allegedly raping a white woman. The men — who became known as the Martinsville Seven — were tried by juries made up of only white men, and advocates say they were coerced into confessing. Northam said the pardons don’t address whether the seven men were guilty or innocent but that they’re a recognition that they were tried without adequate due process and that the men received a “racially biased death sentence not similarly applied to white defendants.”

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