Albemarle County on Wednesday continued its remembrance of the 1898 lynching of John Henry James with the unveiling of a traveling history exhibit featuring the soil collected from the lynching site. On the first floor of the County Office Building on McIntire Road, photographs and a historical narrative that contextualizes the James’ arrest and lynching join the soil.
James, who sold ice cream, was accused of rape by a prominent white woman and was jailed in Staunton ahead of court proceedings. When a train transporting him approached Wood’s Crossing in Albemarle on July 12, 1898, a white mob stopped the train, hanged James and took turns shooting his body.
Although the men were unmasked and law enforcement was on scene, no one was charged in the lynching.
Last year, soil from the lynching site was transported to a national memorial in Alabama, and a historical marker on the lynching was unveiled Friday afternoon in Court Square.
The exhibit in the County Office Building also will travel through the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system from February to June each year. Additionally, it is available by request to other organizations by contacting Siri Russell, Albemarle’s director of equity and inclusion.