A group of Massachusetts teens are working to exonerate a woman more than three hundred years after her death. Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was convicted of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials but was never executed despite receiving a death sentence. Students from North Andover Middle School have worked with their civics teacher, Carrie LaPierre, in researching Johnson’s life and working towards clearing her name.
“It is important that we work to correct history,” said Senator Diana DiZoglio, who introduced legislation to pardon Johnson. “We will never be able to change what happened to these victims, but at the very least, we can set the record straight.” In the three centuries since the witch trials, dozens of accused “witches” have been exonerated but Johnson had somehow been left behind. “It showed how superstitious people still were after the witch trials,” said student Artem Likhanov. “It’s not like after it ended people didn’t believe in witches anymore. They still thought she was a witch and they wouldn’t exonerate her.”