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