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Marker honors memory of lynching victim

A state historical highway marker honoring the memory of an African-American man who was lynched in 1896 will be dedicated at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, adjacent to the fire station at 31438 Tidewater Trail, Center Cross, in Essex County. The public is invited.

The lynching of Thomas Washington, which is the only documented lynching to have occurred in Essex County, garnered substantial publicity at the time, but no one was ever brought to justice for it, according to a press release from the Middle Peninsula African American Genealogical and Historical Society of Virginia.

The marker will be one of only a few state historical markers in Virginia that denote the lynching of a specific African American.

According to the text of the marker, Washington was lynched for allegedly attempting to assault the young daughter of a prominent white citizen. After he was lynched, a boy found his body hanging from a tree about 1/8 mile southwest of the marker location. A coroner’s jury d...

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