L'ultima strega di Salem è stata scagionata, grazie a una maestra di terza media e ai suoi studenti

It’s never too late to right a historical wrong — anche se quella restaurazione della giustizia si avvicina 330 anni dopo.

Elizabeth Johnson Jr., a woman convicted of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials in the 1690s, was finally exonerated last week after years of petitioning by Massachusetts teacher Carrie LaPierre and her eighth-grade civics students. Justice came in the form of a brief addition to the 2023 state budget.
Johnson was accused of witchcraft in 1692 insieme a più di 200 altro women and men in Salem. Di quelli condannati, 19 were hanged and four others died in prisonJohnson was set to be executed, pure, but was later spared.
      E ancora, during Johnson’s lifetime and over the centuries that followed, her name was never actually cleared. It wasn’t until Carrie LaPierre, an eighth-grade civics teacher at North Andover Middle School, came across her story and involved her students in her case that Massachusetts legislators took notice.

        How to exonerate a convicted witch, 300-plus years later

          North Andover, a town in northeastern Massachusetts, is only about 40 minutes from Salem. But until she’d read a book on local witches by historian Richard Hite, LaPierre said she had no idea how the Salem witch trials reverberated in the North Andover areaand it was within those pages that she learned of Johnson.
          While many other convicted witches were exonerated, many of them posthumously, the late Johnson — o “EJJ,” as LaPierre and her students called her — aveva “somehow been overlooked while all other convicted witches had been exonerated over the years,” LaPierre told CNN in an email.
          Details of Johnson’s life are slim, but her family was a major target of the Salem witch trials, driven by hysteria, Puritanical rule and feuding between families. She was one of 28 family members accused of witchcraft in 1692, secondo il Boston Globe.
          In this illustration, a young woman accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, tries to defend herself in front of Puritan ministers.

          Johnson made a compelling confession during a court examination: She said that another woman, Martha Carrier, “perswaded her to be a witchand that Carrier told her sheShould be Saved if she would be a witch,” secondo a 1692 documento digitized by the University of Virginia’s Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive.
          Some of the details of her story were sordid and mortifying to Salem’s residents: Johnson said the devil appeared to herlike two black Catts,” and she named several other people in Salem whom she said were involved in witchcraft. She also showed her knuckles, where it appeared fellow “streghe” aveva “suckt her,” secondo il 1692 examination document.
          For her “crimini,” Johnson was sentenced to death at age 22, as the Boston Globe reported last year, but she was given a reprieve by the governor at the time (di chi wife had also been accused of witchcraft).
          Nel 1711, after state officials realized they’d had little evidence to convict and execute or imprison women (and some men) for witchcraft, essi exonerated many of those who’d been convicted or even hanged, including John Proctor, later one of the protagonists in Arthur Miller’s playThe Crucible.
          Johnson’s name, anche se, was omitted from this list. So in 1712, she petitioned Salem to be included in the act, which provided restitution to families of the accused.
          Nel lettera, lei chieseThat the Honourable Court would please to allow me Something in consideration of my charges by reason of my Long Imprisonment, which will be thankfully acknowledged as a great favour.
          Perché, Esattamente, Johnson was left out is unclear. But LaPierre decided, after connecting with the North Andover Historical Society, LaPierre that taking up the case of a long-deadwitchand clearing her name could be an engaging project for her studentsa real-life application of civics in action.

          Johnson is the last Salem witch to be exonerated

          So LaPierre’s eighth-graders set out on exonerating EJJ, petitioning the Massachusetts legislature with the hopes that a lawmaker would introduce a bill to clear her name. Infine, after three years andnumerous disappointments,” one state senator heard themDiana DiZoglio sponsored an amendment to the state budget this year to add Johnson’s name to an existing resolution that exonerated other “streghe” per nome.
          Some of the women who were hanged during the Salem witch trials have been memorialized.

          All that petitioning and bureaucratic navigating was instructive for her eighth-grade classes, but LaPierre saidthe long-lasting lessons are probably more important: Standing up for justice, advocating for those who cannot do so for themselves, recognizing that their voices have power in the community and the world, and understanding that persistence is necessary to achieve their goals.
          The amendment adds Johnson’s name to a 1957 risoluzione that exonerated several people convicted of witchcraft — e così, infine, Johnson’s wish for absolution was granted.
            But the work for LaPierre continues: She’ll have to find a new project for her incoming eighth-graders now that Johnson’s case is closed. She’s leaving it up to her students this year to determine the issues they care about and the courses of action they’ll take to address them.
            Whatever her students choose to tackle this year, witches are likely off the table: Johnson is the final woman convicted in the Salem trials to be exonerated. E con quello, LaPierre and her class ended a chapter in history that began centuries ago.

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