In this presentation, Hall will explore lynchings that occurred in Virginia, especially the last one, a 1932 incident that happened in Fauquier County. Virginia had the fewest lynchings of the 12 Southern states, yet lynch mobs in the Old Dominion were still responsible for the deaths of 87 people from 1880 to 1930. One of the most puzzling incidents was the Fauquier case, when Shedrick Thompson, a fugitive accused of assault and rape, was captured and hanged by his neighbors on Rattlesnake Mountain. The official verdict was that Thompson committed suicide, but in his book, The Last Lynching in Northern Virginia: Seeking Truth at Rattlesnake Mountain, Hall builds the case for murder while exposing a complex and disturbing chapter in Virginia history.
Jim Hall was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Falls Church, VA. He received a bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech, and a master's degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He became interested in the 1932 hanging death of Shedrick Thompson while working on his master’s thesis, which focused on lynchings that occurred in Virginia and how the state’s newspapers covered those deaths. Now retired, his thirty-six-year newspaper career included serving as reporter and editor, first at the Caroline Progress, a weekly in Bowling Green, VA, and then at the Free Lance-Star, a daily in Fredericksburg, VA. The Last Lynching in Northern Virginia is his first book.