February 12, 2018 10:00 AM
It was 1912, and while the rest of the country was in the era of American Imperialism, parts of Georgia was stuck in the Reconstruction Era. This was the year that white residents of Forsyth County cleansed the area of the entire black population. Approximately 1,100 black residents, business owners, land owners, children, and elderly were forcibly removed from Forsyth County.
An all white lynch mob began with claims of a white woman being raped by a black man. It was later determined that the sexual encounter was consensual. A black suspect (never tried before a court) was hung, and two black teenagers tried by an all white jury were hung in public executions in the town center.
During the 1910 census it was determined more than 1,000 blacks and approximately 10,000 whites lived in Forsyth county. However after the “Night Riders,” as the white mob called themselves, threatened, burned, and beat the black residents, more than 98% of them fled the area. The cleansing wasn’t limited to Forsyth.
The surrounding counties also ran out 50% or more of their black residents during this time.
Blacks did not begin to return to Forsyth until the 1980s. During the return to Forsyth, African Americans attempted to regain the land owned by their relatives generations before. They have been unsuccessful to date.
Learn more about the Forsyth racial cleansing here: