In Memoriam 2022: Joseph McCoy April 23, 1897
In Memoriam: Joseph McCoy April 23, 1897
The Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP) invites the public to a community reflection on Saturday, April 23 at 3 p.m. at Market Square to mark the 125th year since Joseph McCoy was brutally lynched.
At the remembrance event, community members will belatedly recognize Alexandria’s responsibility for the lynching of Joseph McCoy and the racial terror that it spread throughout the African American community. As we attempt to reconcile our past with our present, we recall the words of Maya Angelou,
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
On a Thursday evening in April,1897, an 18-year-old African American boy - born and raised in Alexandria – Joseph McCoy- was accused by his employer, arrested by police, and locked in a cell at the Alexandria Station House (located at today’s City Hall). Within a few hours, a white mob violently attacked the station house, dragged the young man away and hanged him from a gas lamp post on the corner of Lee and Cameron Streets. It was just after 1 a.m. on Friday, April 23. No one came to his aid, and no one was held accountable.
This weekend, learn more about Joseph McCoy, pay your respects at the lynching location, and view the remembrance marker. City Hall will be illuminated in purple, the color of mourning, throughout the weekend. It is our hope that this April 23, 2022 memorialization will provide belated accountability, reconciliation and respect for Joseph McCoy.
The City of Alexandria is committed to the accurate dissemination of its history. The murder of Joseph McCoy is recognized as a terrible chapter in Alexandria’s past. To fight injustice and to keep the memory of Alexandria’s lynching victims alive, you are invited to participate in the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP).
ACRP is a city-wide initiative dedicated to helping Alexandria understand its history of racial terror hate crimes. ACRP conducts research, education, programs, and events that remember Joseph McCoy and Benjamin Thomas and explores the long-term impacts upon Alexandria’s African American community. Working with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) Remembrance Project, ACRP will receive a steel pillar that memorializes McCoy and Thomas and with it will create a permanent space for remembrance in Alexandria City. The work of ACRP is an effort to establish a welcoming community bound by equity and inclusion for all people.
A Community Reflection
Saturday, April 23 at 3 p.m.
The Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP) invited the public to mark the 125th year since Joseph McCoy was brutally lynched, through a community reflection on Saturday, April 23 at 3 p.m. at Market Square.
At the remembrance event, community members will belatedly recognize the lynching of Joseph McCoy and the terror it spread throughout the African American community. In addition, Alexandria will memorialize the life of Joseph McCoy and take responsibility for these acts of racial terror, as we attempt to reconcile our past with our present.
The Remembrance Ceremony
Oh Freedom, Beulah Baptist Church Choir, Led by Gregory Nichols, Choir Director
Welcome, Reverend Professor Quadricos B. Driskell, Beulah Baptist Church
- Justin Wilson, Mayor of Alexandria
- Don Hayes, Chief of Police
- Bryan Porter, Commonwealth's Attorney
- Yahney-Marie Sangaré, Vice President of the Black Student Union, Alexandria City High School
Come By Here My Lord, Beulah Baptist Church Choir
Significance of the Stone, Rabbi David Spinrad, Beth El Hebrew Congregation
Procession to the lynching site, corner of Cameron and N. Lee Streets, led by McArthur Myers, WPM, Worshipful Grand Historian, Universal Lodge #1
Thank You Lord, Beulah Baptist Church Choir
Closing Remarks, Reverend Professor Quadricos B. Driskell
Photo credit, Jeff Hancock Photography
View City Hall, the old Station House Door, the lamp post, and George Washington Masonic Memorial at night as these landmarks will be illuminated in purple, the color of mourning, throughout the weekend to provide belated accountability, reconciliation, and respect for Joseph McCoy.
Photo credit, Jeff Hancock Photography
The Lynching of Joseph H. McCoy: A Narrative
The full account of this hate crime was methodically researched in 2020 by the 13-member Research Committee of the Alexandria Community Remembrance Project.