Seven Black men have been pardoned  70 years after they were executed in 1951 for the alleged rape of a white woman.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam granted the pardons after a meeting with the descendants of the Martinsville Seven, Francis DeSales Grayson, who was 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 “Martinsville Seven,” the men were convicted by an all-white jury of raping 32-year-old Ruby Stroud Floyd in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Martinsville, Virginia on Jan. 8, 1949. Four of the men were executed by electric chair on Feb. 2, 1951. The following week, the remaining three were also executed by electric chair.

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