(Sept 5, 2022) Catherine Read talks with Dale Brumfield, author, and former Field Director for Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (VADP). Virginia became the first southern state to abolish the death penalty when Governor Ralph Northam signed HB2263 into law on March 24, 2021, at the Greenville Correctional Center.
Closing the Slaughterhouse: The Inside Story of Death Penalty Abolition in Virginia was published in May 2022. It follows two previous books – Railroaded and Virginia Penitentiary: A Notorious History – which examine Virginia’s criminal justice system, the history of executions, and incarceration.
This most recent book opens with the story of the near execution of Tom Wansley, a Black teenager falsely accused of rape the 1960s in Lynchburg, Virginia. It goes on to detail the history of executions in Virginia beginning in 1608, and follows the pattern of executions through the modern era. Virginia has executed 1,390 people, more than any other state. This number includes 94 women, 736 enslaved people, and at least 16 children whose ages were verified between 11 and 17.
This book is a riveting history of Virginia’s relationship to capital punishment and the people and organizations that worked valiantly to end it.
For more information about Dale Brumfield and his books: www.DaleBrumfield.net