Injustice in Virginia: The Case of the “Martinsville 7”

In the January 2021 episode of Discussions With DPIC, Rudolph McCollum and Liz Ryan join DPIC Managing Director Anne Holsinger for a conversation about their efforts to obtain posthumous pardons for the “Martinsville 7,” seven Black men who were executed in Virginia for the alleged rape of a white woman in 1949. McCollum, a former mayor of Richmond, is the nephew of two of the executed men and Ryan is the president and CEO of the Youth First Initiative. They discuss the miscarriage of justice in the case, what a posthumous pardon could mean for the state and family members of the executed men, and how the case fits in with the history of racial injustice in Virginia and current efforts to repeal the Commonwealth’s death penalty.