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Genealogical group meeting to focus on 1926 lynching

A virtual meeting at 11 a.m. Saturday of the Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society will focus on a lynching that occurred on Aug. 15, 1926 in Wytheville, in the western part of Virginia.

Author John M. Johnson will talk about his book, “A Death Mob Gathered: The Lynching of Raymond Arthur Byrd.” A notice said that Johnson spent more than 30 years researching the murder of Byrd, a World War I veteran. This was said to be the last documented lynching in Virginia, the notice said.

Raymond Arthur Byrd was jailed after having been charged with the assault of a white woman, the notice said. A mob of about 50 men shot Byrd in his jail cell before dragging his body for 12 miles behind a car and then hanging it from a tree. Although two members of the mob were charged, no one was ever convicted for Byrd’s murder.

Johnson collected witness accounts, articles and historical records about the Byrd case and even obtained a piece of the rope that was used to...

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