Maryland Governor Larry Hogan today issued a full posthumous pardon for 34 victims of racial lynching.
The lynchings occurred in Maryland between 1854 and 1933.
Hogan issued the pardons on the basis that the extrajudicial killings “violated fundamental rights to due process and equal protection of the law.”
It is the first time in history that a governor has issued a blanket pardon for the victims of racial lynchings.
“The State of Maryland has long been on the forefront of civil rights, dating back to Justice Thurgood Marshall’s legal battle to integrate schools and throughout our national reckoning on race,” said Governor Hogan.
“Today, we are once again leading the way as we continue the work to build a more perfect union. My hope is that this action will at least in some way help to right these horrific wrongs and perhaps bring a measure of peace to the memories of these individuals, and to their descendants and loved ones.”
The governor made his announcement today at an event in honor of Howard Cooper, a 15-year old boy who was dragged from the Baltimore County Jail and hanged from a sycamore tree.
In addition, Governor Hogan sent a letter to President Biden today encouraging him to establish a U.S. Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Commission.
In 2019, the governor enacted into law a measure to establish the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first of its kind in the United States. “A national commission would further this important work by examining racial healing through a larger lens,” the governor wrote.