From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Van Venison, Harold

(born: 1907  -  died: 1938) 

His hanging on June 3, 1938, was the last legal hanging in Kentucky. Van Venison was convicted of raping a white woman in Covington, KY, in August of 1937. The execution law changed from hanging to electrocution in February, 1938. The Kentucky Attorney General determined that the crime had occurred before the law changed; therefore, Van Venison should be hanged, June 3, 1938. According to his death certificate, Harold Van Venison was a janitor who was born in Aiken, SC, and he was the husband of Mattie Van Venison. For more see P. T. Ryan, Legal Lynching: the plight of Sam Jennings, pp. 172-173.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Legal lynching : the plight of Sam Jennings

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Van Venison, Harold,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 1, 2022,

Last modified: 2021-01-22 21:11:12