Morris Hopkins' Case

March 30, 1895


A black youth is sentenced to death after striking a older white man with a stick, which led to his death.


Morris Hopkins, the colored youth who is now under the sentence of death and awaits the action of the Governor of Virginia should not be executed if the facts as gleaned by us are true. He is guilty of manslaughter and the penitentiary should be his portion, but to hang him would be in violation of every legal principle.
In a fit of passion he struck Mr. Henry S. Parsons, with a stick. The weapon used was not a deadly one in the eyes of the law, and most any other man would have been alive and well today after just such a blow as Hopkins wielded. The daily papers have been exercising their influence in burying him on to the gallows by publishing his preparations for death and declaring that he is ready and willing to proceed to the other world.
We regret to see this. There is an open question as to whether he is really sane. It would seem that his mind has become unbalanced and that in that event the law is about to exercise itself upon a totally irresponsible man rather than rid the world of a cruel, murderous villain. We await the action of His Excellency, trusting that he will remember mercy even as he expects to receive it.
About this article

Location on Page

Lower Left Quadrant

Contributed By

Cord Fox


“Morris Hopkins' Case,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed January 18, 2022,