Virginia erects first historical marker for lynching victim

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CHARLES CITY, Va. (WRIC/AP) — Virginia has installed its first historical marker to commemorate the lynching of a black man.

The marker was installed on Sunday in Charles City, outside of Richmond. It marks the death of 43-year-old Isaac Brandon in 1892.

The father of eight was seized by a mob from the Charles City County courthouse jail and hanged from a nearby tree. Brandon was accused of attacking a white woman but was never charged and never had a trial.

“We pray for his [Brandon’s] family even though this crime was committed over 126 years ago,” Charles City NAACP chairman the Rev. Ellsworth Tait said. “The ramifications continue to reverberate through friends and loved ones as they have to suffer on a scale that is unimaginable.”

Organizers in Charles City tracked down descendants including Brandon’s great-great-granddaughter. Tish McDonald learned of Brandon’s fate only after she was contacted.

“Know your history because history has a way of repeating itself,” she said. “If you don’t know what your history is, you can repeat the same things again.

“We can make a change going forward because we do not accept this,” McDonald continued. “It never should have been accepted and it still happens today. It’s sad, but it’s still occurring.”

“All it takes is a few to stand up and say no. Just like the women and the me-too movement, it’s not acceptable. Diversity is a beautiful thing and it’s not just always about black and white. It’s about bringing people together who think differently to melt them together to come to a better understanding because at the core of it, we are all human and want the same things.” — Tish McDonald

The Equal Justice Initiative has said that about 4,000 lynchings of African Americans were documented between 1877 and 1950. There were about 100 documented lynchings in Virginia.

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