In Memoriam 2023: Joseph McCoy April 23, 1897
In Memoriam: Joseph McCoy April 23, 1897
The Alexandria Community Remembrance Project (ACRP) invites the public to commemorative events to mark the 126th year since Joseph McCoy was brutally lynched.
In Remembrance of Joseph McCoy
April 22: ACRP Presents: Restorative or Transformational Justice? What is Justice?
April 23: Joseph McCoy Remembrance Wreath Laying
May 20: EJI Essay Contest Scholarship Awards
See event details below.
Also view the earlier Memorial pages, from 2020 through 2022.
ACRP Presents: Restorative or Transformational Justice? What is Justice?
April 22, 2023
11 a.m., Free
Charles Houston Recreation Center Gymnasium
All are invited to attend a community meeting on Transformational Justice Saturday, At this remembrance event, Bilqis Wilkerson, Managing Director at the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University will define what restorative or transformational justice means. Her presentation explores how communities can address the historic wrongs of enslavement, lynching, segregation, and mass incarceration in a positive way that brings justice, healing, and transformation. Please join the conversation as a member of the ACRP and consider how to reckon with racial terror events in Alexandria’s past.
Joseph McCoy Remembrance Wreath Laying
April 23, 2023
2 p.m. (gather at 1:45 p.m.), Free
Fairfax Street Side of Market Square
On Sunday, April 23, Alexandria remembered the 1897 racial terror lynching of Joseph McCoy with a procession procession from the doors of the old police station at City Hall where he was kidnapped by a white mob to the corner of Cameron and Lee Streets where he was lynched. The remembrance concluded with a wreath-laying.
Photos, courtesy Lois Kebe
Tracing the Past In Remembrance of Joseph McCoy
Acknowledge the events of April 23, 1897, and remember Alexandria native Joseph McCoy by walking the streets and noting the places where he lived, worked and may have been arrested. Travel to Market Square to the police station where Joseph first heard of the charges he faced, which he denied, before eventually confessing. The young Black man twice experienced intense fear as an enraged white mob came after him with murderous intent. Then walk his last terrified steps to Cameron and Lee Streets. There, honor him by saying his name, apologize for Alexandria’s history of racial terror and promise to work to ensure a just future for all people.
Illumination of Sites of Significance
City Hall, the old Station House Door of City Hall on N. Fairfax Street, the lynching location on N. Lee Street, and the George Washington Masonic Memorial will be illuminated in purple, the color of mourning, throughout the weekend to provide belated accountability, reconciliation, honor, and respect for McCoy.
EJI Essay Contest Scholarship Awards
May 20, 2023
11 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Council Chambers in City Hall
The essay contest is one of the EJI Remembrance Programs expectations for localities who are engaging in the work of truth-telling, memorializing, and transforming their communities. ACRP and ACPS launched the contest on Jan. 16 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. The contest closed on March 17, 2023, and winners will be announced and awarded at the May 20 event. ACRP has requested a representative from EJI join us for this event. Mayor Wilson and Superintendent Dr. Kay-Wyatt will be part of our ceremony.
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.
The Lynching of Joseph H. McCoy, April 23, 1897
In the News
The lynching of Joseph McCoy . Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, April 20, 2023.
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. The work of ACRP is an effort to establish a welcoming community bound by equity and inclusion for all people.
Benjamin Thomas and Joseph McCoy are the only two documented Alexandria lynchings so far. McCoy was lynched on April 23, 1897. This year is the 125th anniversary of that event. It was commemorated on that date.