Charles “Allie” Thompson

Background

On November 20, 1918 Charles ‘Allie’ Thompson, a bright young African American male, was arrested and charged with the rape of a local white woman. Thompson was incarcerated in Culpeper County jail where he remained for five days awaiting trial.

Early in the morning of November 25, 1918, Thompson was seized from the jail by a large group of men. The mob transported Thompson to a spot about three miles from the jail where he was hanged from a small oak tree.

Legal Status


It appears that the only official inquiry into Thompson’s death was the coroner’s inquest held that same day. The Governor of Virginia, Westmoreland Davis, received several letters which urged him to look into the killing, including an emotional plea from Allie’s father. The Governor also received a testimony from Moses Summons, a concerned black local, which cast serious doubts over the rape allegations that had been levied against Thompson. However no state or federal investigation was launched into the case, which remained buried for decades.

The Thompson case has been revived in recent years through the efforts of local journalist Zann Nelson. A local committee, which includes members of the victim’s family, is currently working with CRRJ in pursuit of restorative justice measures.