Too Pretty for Prison

A young white murderess underscored Virginia’s penal and media disparities.

Graphic by Dale M. Brumfield

“The heavy iron gates of the Virginia Penitentiary closed August 11, 1892 on perhaps the prettiest prisoner who has over been confined in the institution,” cooed the Washington Post on the admittance to the penitentiary of 19-year-old Octavia Hodges. The Rocky Mount woman was sentenced to six years…

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