Charlotte Harris historical marker unveiled in Court Square

Charlotte Harris historical marker unveiled in Court Square
A marker honoring Charlotte Harris was erected in Harrisonburg on Saturday, Sept. 26. (Source: WHSV)

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Community members gathered for the unveiling of the Charlotte Harris historical marker in Harrisonburg’s Court Square Saturday. Harris is the only known African American woman lynched in Virginia.

Local leaders spoke on Charlotte Harris' life and her injustice.

Harris lived in Rockingham County until her death in 1878. In the same court square where the marker stands now, local officials determined there was no one they could identify as her killers.

Speakers included Mayor Deanna Reed, Dr. Gianluca de Fazio, professor at James Madison University, Vice-Chair Rick Chandler of the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors, Vice-Mayor Sal Romero, Steven Thomas of the Northeast Neighborhood Association, and Dr. Colita Fairfax, Chair of the Virginia Board of Historic Resources.

“Today we formally announce and dedicate the Charlotte Harris historic marker on Court Square in Harrisonburg to every single Black woman in the Commonwealth of Virginia and all 50 states of the union, indeed around the world. This is for you sisters, this is for you,” Thomas said.

The goal of the marker is to bring her injustice to light and remind the community of the history of America with hopes of continuing conversations on racial equality.

Copyright 2020 WHSV. All rights reserved.