The Last Convicted Salem Witch has been Exonerated

In 1692 and 1693, over 200 people were accused of witchcraft in Salem and the surrounding communities of colonial Massachusetts. Twenty people were executed for the crime. After the witchcraft panic died down, the cruelty of this injustice became apparent. Over the next 300 years, all but one of those convicted of witchcraft were clear of all crimes. The last remaining case was that of Elizabeth Johnson Jr. No one knows exactly why she was forgotten in the exonerations, but you can tell by her name that her mother was also Elizabeth Johnson. The elder Johnson was cleared of her witchcraft conviction, and Elizabeth Jr. may have been overlooked in the paperwork, if someone assumed the mother and daughter were the same person.

The sole remaining conviction in the Salem witch trials came to the attention of teacher Carrie LaPierre. She explained the situation to her eighth-grade civics class at North Andover Middle School, and they took up the cause of clearing Johnson's name. Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was a local woman from Andover when she was accused of witchcraft in 1692, as were many of her relatives. LaPierre's students did their research and took Johnson's case to the state legislature, where an exoneration was placed into Massachusetts' latest budget bill. The final convicted Salem "witch" has now been cleared, and LaPierre's civics class learned a lesson in advocacy and state government. Read more about this story at Smithsonian. 

#witch #Salemwitchtrials #exoneration

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