This is John Snowden . . .

. . . a Black iceman accused of the murder of a pregnant white woman in Annapolis, Maryland in 1917.

Even under torture, he maintained his innocence and refused to confess. He was tried, through legal shenanigans, by an all-white jury. He was found guilty entirely on circumstantial evidence and sentenced to death. And he was refused clemency and hanged for the crime.

Thanks to tireless efforts decades later by local citizens and family members convinced he had been a victim of a legal lynching, however, Snowden was granted a posthumous pardon by the governor of Maryland in 2001. 

His case is not unique.

In his latest book, A Second Reckoning: Race, Injustice, and the Last Hanging in Annapolis, author Scott D. Seligman brings posthumous pardons into the national conversation on amends for past racial injustices.

He argues that cases in which prejudice may have tainted procedures or perverted verdicts deserve a second look. Acts of clemency, no matter how delayed, can have profound effects on the living and send a powerful message that the discredited values of the past are not those of the present or the future.

The search for justice has no statute of limitations.

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