Virginiany Christian was born August 15, 1895 in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginiany was uneducated and unable to attend school, she had to get a job at a very young age and help out her mother with bills and food. Virginiany mother became paralyzed, unable to work anymore. This put all the work load on Virginiany. At the age 16 Virginiany went to work for a 71 year old white woman named Ida Belote (1861 – March 18, 1912),
in Hampton, Virginia, as a maid. Belote hated Virginiany because she was black and Belote hated that she had to pay blacks to work for her instead of free labor.
Everyday Virginiany was called “Nigger” by Belote, but Virginiany remain calm and did her work and went home to take care of her sick mother.
In March of 1912, Belote began mistreating Virginiany again, but this time Virginiany had something to say back. A argument ensued between the two, in which Belote accused Virginiany of stealing a locket and a skirt.
Belote picked up a cuspidor, Commonly called a “spittoon” and hit Virginiany with it. The altercation escalated when Belote ran for one of the two broom handles that she use to prop up her bedroom windows. Virginiany took notice and also ran for one of the broom handles. Virginiany grabbed one of the handles and struck Belote, before Belote can hit her again.
Belote fell to the floor and let out a loud scream, Virginiany stuffed a towel down Belote’s throat, and Belote died from suffocation.
Virginiany then went into Belote purse and took her day worth of pay. Virginiany did not know she killed Belote until after her arrest. During questioning the police said Virginiany admitted to hitting Belote, but was shocked that Belote was dead. Virginiany told the police she had no intention of killing Belote, but was defending herself from Belote.
One newspaper report that ” police found Belote’s body, laying face down in a pool of blood, and her head was horribly mutilated and a towel was stuffed into her mouth and throat.”
With an lynch mob looming in the background, Elizabeth City Court tried and convicted Virginiany of murder and the trial judge sentence her to death in the state’s electric chair.
46th Governor of Virginia William Hodges Mann (July 30, 1843 – December 12, 1927),declined to commute Virginiany death sentence, despite a plea from Virginiany’s mother, Charlotte Christian who wrote him:
My dear mr governor
Please for give me for Bowing low to write you a few lines: I am the mother of Virginiany Christian. I have been pairalized for mor then three years and I could not and Look after Gennie as I wants too. I know she dun an awful weaked thing when she kill Miss Belote and I hear that the people at the penetintry wants to kill her but I is praying night and day on my knees to God that he will soften your heart so that She may spend the rest of her days in prison. they say that the whole thing is in yours Hands and I know Governer if you will onely save my child who is little over sixteen years old God will Bless you for ever … If I was able to come to see you I could splain things to you better but I cant do nothing but pray to God and ask him to help you to simpithise with me and my truble
I am your most umble subgeck,
One day after her 17th birthday On August 16, 1912 five months after the crime, Richmond, Virginia authorities executed Virginiany at the state penitentiary in Richmond, VA.
Virginiany was the first female alleged criminal executed in the 20th century in the state of Virginia, and a juvenile offender executed in the United States. She was also the only female juvenile executed by electric chair and, to date, the last alleged female criminal executed in the electric chair by the Commonwealth of Virginia. She was the last female alleged criminal executed by the Commonwealth until Thursday, September 23, 2010 when Teresa Lewis became the first female criminal in nearly a century to be executed in the U.S state of Virginia.
Virginiany was electrocuted in the state prison in Richmond. She was 17 years old. The paper reported that her body was to be turned over to the state medical school, because her parents did not have the money to transport the body from Richmond.