34 Racial Lynching Victims, Including 15-Year-Old Boy, Posthumously Pardoned by Maryland Governor | Inside Edition

34 Racial Lynching Victims, Including 15-Year-Old Boy, Posthumously Pardoned by Maryland Governor

A Black Lives Matter sign is held while Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks during an event held by The Maryland Lynching Memorial Project at the old Baltimore County Jail in Towson, MD on May 8, 2021.
A Black Lives Matter sign is held while Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks during an event held by The Maryland Lynching Memorial Project at the old Baltimore County Jail in Towson, MD on May 8, 2021.Photo by Will Newton for The Washington Post via Getty Images

"My hope is that this action will at least in some way help to right these horrific wrongs and perhaps bring a measure of peace to the memories of these individuals and to their descendants and their loved ones," Gov. Larry Hogan said.

In a historic feat, the governor of Maryland posthumously pardoned 34 victims of racial lynching on the basis that their killings violated their fundamental rights to due process and equal protection, according to a statement released.

Gov. Larry Hogan pardoned 34 victims of racial lynching that occurred between 1854 and 1933. He says those victims were denied legal due process in the trying of their alleged crimes. 

Howard Cooper was just 15 years old when he was taken from a jailhouse and hanged from a tree by a white mob in 1885. He was lynched before his lawyers had a chance to file an appearance of a rape conviction that an all-white jury reached in just three minutes.

"During this time, Black-on-white rape or assault required no support and Black people were often lynched for things they did not do," Will Schwarz, president of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, wrote in a letter this year requesting Cooper's pardon. The Maryland Lynching Memorial Project is working to document the history of lynching in the state.

Among the youngest victims included a 13-year-old named Frederick who was arrested for rape of a woman and later hanged from a tree in September 1861. 

"We have a responsibility to try and dismantle that machine of white supremacy and this is a big piece of it, acknowledging the violation of civil rights and of due process that was a part of these awful lynchings," Schwarz said in a statement. 

There are a recorded 6,500 racial lynchings in the country according to documentation by the Equal Justice Initiative. There have been 40 documented lynching cases in the state of Maryland.

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