Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America
Forsyth County sits a little ways outside Atlanta. The county was famous/infamous for its lack of diversity. A horrific attack on a young white woman in 1912, coupled with an alleged attempt on another woman, would lead to mob justice, quick arrests of possibly innocent men, and the exodus of 1200 African American men, women, and children. The racist attitudes of the population would lead to a kidnapping, a confession, a lynching of a possible suspect, and the arrest of a few others. The sheriff of the county would be active in investigating the attack but indifferent to the lynch mob mentality that would claim a black man’s life. The trials of the main suspects would end in quick convictions and hangings. The evidence was scant, but the minds were set. After the trial, further gangs of raiders and marauders would force the black citizens of the county out. The number of black citizens was few until the spotlight would be thrown on the county in 1987 with a civil rights march. The county’s population would change, but the questions remain about the ingrained attitudes about race.
Patrick Phillips writes from a personal perspective, as he lived in the aforementioned area. His family’s attitude of love and tolerance was not viewed kindly in Forsyth County. Phillips performs a great service in detailing the perils of racism, mob rule, and injustice.
W. W. Norton & Company
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