Mug Shot_Virginia Christian_6_3_1912

A Day for Reflection

This morning, at the time of day Virginia Christian was pronounced dead and unstrapped from the electric chair at the state penitentiary in Richmond, Virginia, on August 16, 1912, I began working on this essay. Virgie was seventeen years old, an African American girl taken out of a Negro school at the age of thirteen because her […]

Elizabeth City County Courthouse, 1913. (Courtesy of the Hampton History Museum, Hampton, Va. Cheyne Collection 2009.15.1998)

Dangerous Situation

(Large photo) Elizabeth City County Courthouse, Hampton, Virginia, where Virginia Christian was tried for murder in 1912. (Small photo) Inez C. Fields, the daughter of George Washington Fields, lead defense attorney in the Virginia Christian trial. (Massachusetts Historical Society) Was it a good idea for the father [Henry Christian] to testify that he did not know the […]

0349 Sheriff Curtis & Officers 1920

Sheriff R. K. Curtis

How excited I was when I found the photograph of the six men above! Why? The man standing at the far right is the historical Sheriff R. K. Curtis, who arrested and held Virginia Christian in the Elizabeth City County jail in Hampton. Sheriff Curtis’s deputies accompanied the girl to the courthouse the days of […]