Once An Executioner, He Died A Abolitionist

Execution chamber
William Anderson
May 5, 2020

From 1982 to 1999, Jerry Givens was an executioner in the state of Virginia. He carried out 62 executions by electric chair and lethal injection. His job seemed simple enough: push a button or inject a condemned person. 

Then, Jerry had an experience that changed everything.

He was sent to federal prison for money laundering, and his time there made him reconsider everything. 

He became closer to his faith and developed a deeper understanding of forgiveness. Once an executioner, he transformed into something completely different.

Givens dedicated himself to opposing the death penalty and condeming capital punishment. 

His work took him from giving Virginia State House testimony to addressing audiences at the World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Brussels - but now that’s changed, too.

Jerry Givens recently passed away from coronavirus (COVID-19). After being Virginia’s chief executioner for over 25 years, he spent the rest of his days fighting the outdated, torturous, racist practice of execution. 

Half the country and most of the world have abolished the death penalty, but there’s still much work to be done.

Even though Jerry Givens has passed away, the death penalty is still very much alive. Despite the fact it doesn’t bring about justice, decrease crime, or have any real purpose, it remains a practice that disproportionately targets Black people. It’s time to end it once and for all!

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: