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Northam gets a lesson on Bloody Monday; billy clubs, water hoses

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently gained a deeper understanding of a civil rights event that happened in his state in the 1960s.

Bloody Monday is a name used to describe a series of arrests and violent attacks on African Americans that took place during a civil rights protest on June 10, 1963, in Danville, Va., that called attention to segregation laws and racial inequality, and, was one of several protests held that year during the month of June.

The events received widespread criticism from the national media, especially the subsequent trials, overseen by Judge Archibald M. Aiken.

On that summer evening, 50 protesters gathered at the Danville jail to hold a prayer vigil and ended up being attacked by the town's police and deputized citizens, who used billy clubs and water hoses to fight the protesters.

As a result, 65 victims were taken to the town's African-American hospital; 47 of whom were prayer vigil attendees.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., visited on Danville on July 11, 1963, to show support for the demonstrators, but did not hold a march.

Judge Aiken began trying the arrested protesters on June 17. His handling of the cases received criticism from several people and organizations, including, the United States Department of Justice.

During the trials, Aiken refused to give out bills of particulars, or, grant continuances or bail. He announced guilty verdicts from a pre-typed script and made it nearly, if not completely, impossible for the defendants to appeal their sentences.

(Information courtesy of Wikipedia, the Virginia Beach Sun and the state of Virginia.)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam listened recently as community leaders discussed their personal experiences during the events of Danville's Bloody Monday in 1963. He visited a historical marker; and the site of the First State Bank, in Danville. (Photo and caption courtesy of the state of Virginia.)


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