Richard Brown’s Statement

January 26, 1895


Black man who was put in jail for requesting payment explains his side of the story.


Richard Brown’s Statement
On last Monday morning, we visited the city jail. Proceeding to the curved iron gate on the inside of the enclosure it was not long before a dark-skin man of medium build, with a slight mustache responded to the call for Richard Brown. He made the following statement:
“I was driving for Mr. Chas. H. Page. I had not been working for him long. I had on a load of coal,. When a white man on the corner of 4th and Franklin stopped me and asked me who I drove for. I told him. He said that the mule was too light for such a heavy load, and that he would see Mr. Page about it. He said it would not cause me any trouble.
It was on a Thursday evening when Mr. Page told me that when he wanted me to run his business again he’d let me know. He said I had reported him. He owed me $3.33 and paid me $1.33.
I went back the next day after my money, and he would not pay me. He said I had reported him and he might be fined in the court and would keep back $2 of my money on that account. I told him I was bound to have my money, that I had a family to support. I have a wife and one child and live on West Main St. There is no number on the house.
I told him he must pay me. He went into the office and got his gun and chased me for a square. He had me arrested for threatening him.”
In reply to our queries, he said, “No the cart did not have any license on it. Mr. Page told me to drive that cart. Mr. Page told me to drive that cart. No, there was no other cart there for me to drive. Yes, he paid me the $2, after I insisted and then he had me arrested. I have been living in Richmond for thirteen years, and have never been arrested for anything before.
No, Mr. Page said in court that he had not paid any fine. He kept my money back in case he should have to pay a fine, he could take that to pay it with.”
This ended the conversation, Brown called us back, “Please send me Planet!” We promised we would. But the news that we were at the jail had spread among the prisoners, and, “Mr. Mitchell, let me see you a minute!” came through the iron enclosure. Within the jail were men and boys a sickening mixture, and with feelings of regret and a desire to help, we sadly turned away.
It will be remembered that Brown was convicted in the Hustings Court of Richmond and his punishment ascertained at five years in the penitentiary.
The judge set aside the verdict, and upon advice of counsel, Mr. Wise he pleaded guilty to “assault and battery” and was given a year.
About this article

Location on Page

Upper Left Quadrant

Contributed By

Cord Fox


“Richard Brown’s Statement,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed March 25, 2019,