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UVA Center for Politics, Legacy Productions, and Martinsville 7 Initiative to Announce National Documentary Project at Saturday Gala

Documentary will explore the story of the Martinsville 7 and the treatment of Black men in America

(CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA) – In partnership with the Martinsville 7 Initiative, the University of Virginia Center for Politics and the Larry J. Sabato Foundation will be major sponsors of the “Pardoned but not Forgotten Gala” in Martinsville, Virginia this Saturday, Dec. 4, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Baldwin Building of the New College Institute.

The event will also announce a partnership with the UVA Center for Politics, Legacy Productions, and the Martinsville 7 Initiative to produce a new documentary analyzing the treatment of Black men in America and highlighting the story of the Martinsville 7.

The public is invited to attend the Gala. Tickets are $75 per person, which includes dinner. Face masks will be required. To purchase tickets, email [email protected] or call 276-806-3721.

On Aug. 31, 2021, Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) granted a posthumous pardon to seven Black men from Martinsville who were executed 70 years ago for the alleged rape of a white woman.

Family members of the Martinsville 7 — Francis DeSales Grayson, Booker T. Millner, Frank Hairston, James Hairston, Howard Lee Hairston, John C. Taylor, and Joe Hampton — say that the men were interrogated under duress without a lawyer present, and that their confessions were coerced under the threat of mob violence. Northam’s pardons served “as recognition from the Commonwealth that these men were tried without adequate due process and received a racially-biased death sentence not similarly applied to white defendants,” according to an announcement from the governor’s office.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Martinsville 7 Initiative.