Dale M. Brumfield is the author of eleven books. His latest is "Railroaded: the true stories of the first 100 people executed in Virginia's electric chair," which follows "Theme Park Babylon," "Naked Savages," both novels, and "Virginia State Penitentiary: A Notorious History," about the iconic prison that sat in Richmond from 1800 - 1991. His other history books, “Richmond Independent Press” (2013) and “Independent Press in D.C and Virginia: An Underground History” (2015) chronicle the rise and fall of Virginia and D.C.’s underground and alternative press in the 1960s and ‘70s. Both were nominated for Library of Virginia Literary Awards in nonfiction.


In 2015 Dale was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the Rappahannock Review Literary journal at Mary Washington University for his non-fiction short story “Death Row Report.”


Dale is also an arts features writer for Richmond’s Style Weekly, North of the James and

Richmond magazines, and since 2010 has won numerous Virginia Press Association and national AAN awards for his cover stories. He has also contributed to the Richmond Free Press newspaper, the Austin Chronicle, USA Today and to the newsmagazine website Medium.com.


In 2015, he received his Masters of Fine Arts from VCU’s prestigious Creative Writing program. He has also presented seminars and presentations on “cultural archaeology” to the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, the Rockbridge County Historical Society and to the Virginia Humanities Conference in Falls Church, Virginia.


Dale lives with his wife Susan in Doswell, Virginia

Virginia next in line to abolish death penalty. What’s behind the shift?


12 MARCH 2021

Christian Science Monitor


In February, Virginia’s state legislature voted to abolish the death penalty – a significant change for a state that has executed more people than any other since its founding and is second only to Texas in executions since the late 1970s. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to sign the abolition into law any day now, making Virginia the 23rd state to end the death penalty, and the first state to do so in the South, an area that far surpasses all other regions in executions.  


Click on the picture to read this story on abolition in the Christian Science Monitor

‘Legal lynching’: A VCU alumnus’ book tells the forgotten stories of the first 100 people sent to the electric chair in Virginia



This book was intended to be a sequel of sorts to my history of the Virginia State Penitentiary, which was released in 2017. That project allowed me to look into a few high-profile executions that took place in the penitentiary basement, where executions in the electric chair were centralized in 1908. There is possibly no class of Americans more maligned, marginalized and forgotten than executed prisoners, and in researching them I realized their entire lives were solely defined by a single criminal act (or alleged criminal act) and an execution. It is easy to forget they had lives beyond this one tragic event. They were fathers, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and co-workers. The only attention they drew was when they testified in court, when they were executed, or worse, when a lynch mob was out for them. They deserved more.

Click on the picture to read my interview with VCU Public Relations.

VCU illo.jpg

Fighting for alternatives to the death penalty: Humanity, dignity and justice on trial

25 OCTOBER 2019


If one out of every nine persons on Death Row is found to be innocent would you agree that the death penalty should be abolished? What if that one were your son? What about the cost? Isn't it cheaper to kill 'em than keep 'em? And would your opinion change if you were Black? These provocative questions and more are discussed between host Christine Bacon and guest Dale Brumfield who has devoted his life to changing arbitrary and often racially biased laws in he Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond. Listen in and know that you will be challenged.

Click on the picture to listen to my interview by Dr. Christine Bacon on WKQA radio in Norfolk.​

VCU alumnus reveals 190-year history of Richmond’s notorious, iconic Virginia State Penitentiary

26 OCTOBER 2017


Brian McNeill

Virginia Commonwealth University Public Affairs

A new book by Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus Dale Brumfield reveals the history of the Virginia State Penitentiary,  that the ACLU at one time called the “most shameful prison in America.”

Virginia State Penitentiary: A Notorious History” is the latest book by Brumfield, who earned a B.F.A. in painting from VCU’s School of the Arts in 1981 and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from VCU’s Department of English in the College of Humanities and Sciences in 2015.

Click on the picture to read the interview.​


24 OCTOBER 2017


Style Weekly

Richard Foster

It might beggar belief 26 years later, but until it closed in 1991, the state penitentiary — then home to Virginia's electric chair — was at Belvidere and Spring streets, just across from Oregon Hill and barely a half mile from the heart of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Click on the picture by Scott Elmquist to read the story.


Marker Dedicated

24 FEBRUARY 2017


Richmond Times-Dispatch

Staff Reports

A historic marker for the former Virginia State Penitentiary was unveiled and dedicated yesterday at Spring and Belvidere streets where the facility stood for 191 years.

“Thank you very much for coming to ... 500 Spring Street, a city within a city, for almost two centuries the most notorious address in Richmond,” said Dale M. Brumfield, the marker’s sponsor and an author who has a book coming out about the prison later this year.

Click on the picture to read the story.


Resolution recognizes local civil rights leader


11 FEB 2016


Kenbridge Victoria Dispatch


A resolution honoring Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne for his work as a civil rights leader in Lunenburg County has been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly.


Del. Tommy Wright, who proposed the resolution, is its patron in the House of Delegates. The resolution recognizes Hawthorne as “a passionate civil rights advocate who fought for justice and dignity for his fellow residents of Southside Virginia.”


Click the photo for the story of my work in getting recognition for this great man.


Nathaniel Lee Hawthorne

Dale Brumfield sheds light on VA independent publishing history with Independent Press In DC & Virginia


14 APRIL 2015





Believe it or not, RVA Mag was not the beginning. Much as we'd love to lay claim to having started it all, the history of independent press in Virginia goes back many years longer than the single decade we've been in operation--and Richmond-based author Dale Brumfield has chronicled a significant portion of that history in his new book, Independent Press In DC and Virginia: An Underground History (History Press). A sequel to his previous, RVA-focused volume, Richmond Independent Press: A History of the Underground Zine Scene, Independent Press In DC and Virginia will be released this weekend ...


Click the photo for the whole story.


© 2020 Dale Brumfield and HJH Media