A Murder in Virginia: Southern Justice on Trial (review)

A Murder in Virginia: Southern Justice on Trial, by Suzanne Lebsock (W. W. Norton, 2003).

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A Murder in Virginia: Southern Justice on Trial (review)

by S. Willoughby Anderson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 10, No. 2: Summer 2004

W. W. Norton, 2003.

Lunenburg—a tiny grouping of houses and farms southwest of Richmond near the North Carolina border—served as the unlikely host to Virginia’s biggest media spectacle of 1895. For a few months in the summer and fall of that year, the murder of Lucy Jane Pollard topped coverage of the increasingly controversial Populist and free silver movements, as well as the upcoming presidential election. The victim was found dead by her husband, having been murdered in their yard on her way to set the hens. Locals quickly rounded up three suspects, all African American women and all with some connection to the Pollard farm. Another suspect, Solomon Marable, a black man seen spending twenty-dollar bills in the nearest town, joined the women in custody the next day.