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We do not believe that the execution of this child will lessen the number of crimes of murder in your state or that the commutation of her sentence to life imprisonment will increase them.
She was uneducated, had little means to protect herself at all.People with very strong feelings about, not only Jim Crow but the right for women to vote and how this was tied into how this female was being objectified in her society.Recognizing the heinousness of this offense committed by this mad young woman, we must ask you, is not the state of Virginia herself in part responsible? The picture of her sitting alone in her cell, unable to while away her last hours even by reading, is an indictment against society for her condition that must reflect on all of us who have been given to see the light as she never dreamed of seeing it.Howell’s book includes other real life Virginians who had an impact during this period, including physician Walter Plecker and musician John Powell, white supremacists behind the Racial Integrity Act.Virginia Christian’s lawyer, George Washington Fields also plays a prominent role.The picture of that black child, alone, helpless and friendless in her cell is one that comes home to all of us. Christian’s trial lasted two days; the jury of twelve white men deliberated for less than an hour before finding her guilty of first degree murder.
In the name of humanity, in the name of civilization, in the name of 2 1/2 million citizens of Chicago, the world asks you to commute the sentence to life imprisonment. In the confession she gave to reporter Charles Mears after her sentencing, she said Ida Belote started a physical altercation and she never intended to kill her.
Because under the Constitution of 1902, a juvenile was not not even supposed to be incarcerated, let alone executed and the prosecutors found around that.
The governor actually had another confederate veteran, Colonel JB Wood, who was the superintendent of the penitentiary, had a physician go in to confirm that the girl was of adult age.
Virginia Christian, the first and only female juvenile to be executed by the state of Virginia.
Ross Howell Jr.'s new historical fiction book ' Forsaken' examines Christian's arrest, trial and execution through the lens of Charles Mears, a Hampton reporter who covered the story. The Library of Virginia has created Forsaken: the Digital Bibliography that, chapter by chapter, provides archival documents and detailed information about real life Virginians featuerd in the book.
Charlie would have been the right age to be drafted into service in World War I, so you can guess where I'm going.