KING AND QUEEN COUNTY, VA
A state historical highway marker will be dedicated on Saturday, October 14, at Noon in King and Queen County. The marker will memorialize James Horace Carter, an African-American man who was lynched 100 years ago on October 12, 1923. Although the incident garnered substantial publicity around the country, no one was ever brought to justice for the Carter lynching, the only documented lynching in King and Queen County.
The dedication program will take place in the King and Queen County courthouse, 242 Allens Circle, King and Queen Court House, Virginia 23085. The marker unveiling will take place at the marker site at the intersection of Allens Circle and Route 14, just yards away from the courthouse.
Event speakers will include Joseph S. H. Rogers, Director of Partnerships and Community Engagement at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in Richmond and members of James Horace Carter’s family. The public is invited to join the ceremony in person or to view the livestream at www.facebook.com/mpaaghs
The dedication program will include a soil collection ceremony. A soil sample collected from the Carter lynching site will be sent to the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama and a sample will be kept at the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum. The Legacy Museum houses an installation of more than 800 soil samples from lynching sites around the country.
James Horace Carter was a 45-year-old husband and father. Two weeks before the lynching, a white woman had admitted that Carter was the father of one of her children. He was charged with rape and arrested.
While being driven by officers to the King and Queen County jail, a mob seized him from the car, shot him ten times (five in the face, four in the chest, and one in the back) while he was still shackled, and left his body in a ditch. Gov. E. Lee Trinkle offered assistance and the case was widely reported, but no one was prosecuted for the murder. The woman’s husband later used her admission of adultery as grounds for divorce.
The King and Queen County Board of Supervisors recently issued a resolution that condemned and expressed regret for the lynching of Carter and other victims of racial terror. The resolution proclaims October 12 as James Horace Carter Remembrance Day in King and Queen County in perpetuity.
As a prelude to the marker dedication, on October 12, at 6 p.m., there will be a virtual screening of “An Outrage,” an award-winning documentary film about lynching in the American South.
Filmed on location at lynching sites in six states, the film is bolstered by the memories and perspectives of descendants, activists, and scholars as it serves as a vehicle to remember a long-hidden past. Created by Virginia filmmakers Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren of Field Studio, the 33-minute film premiered at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2017 and since then has been screened for audiences around the country.
A community discussion will follow the screening. To receive a Zoom invitation to this virtual program, or for further information, email email@example.com or call (804) 651-8753.
Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society is the sponsor of the marker and the film screening. The Board of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which has the authority to designate new historical markers, approved the marker in September 2022. Although there are more than 100 documented lynchings in Virginia, state highway markers have been erected for only five of them.
Organizations that have endorsed the Carter marker dedication and film screening are the King and Queen County Democratic Committee; King and Queen County NAACP; King and Queen County Historical Society; Mattaponi Friends Meeting (Quakers); New Mount Zion Baptist Church, Walkerton, Virginia; Third Union Baptist Church, King William, Virginia; and Zion Baptist Church, King and Queen Court House, Virginia.