THE 1906 ATLANTA RACE RIOT SEPTEMBER 22 nd -24 th , 1906
THE 1906 ATLANTA RACE RIOT During the summer of 1906, white fears of African Americans’ increasing economic and social power, sensationalized rhetoric from white politicians, and unsubstantiated news stories about a black crime wave created a powder keg of racial tension in Atlanta. The powder keg exploded on the night of September 22nd in what became known as The Atlanta Race Riot . By the time the riot ended on September 25th, at least 25 blacks and two whites lay dead.
ORIGINS OF SOCIAL UNREST GOVERNOR’S RACE OF SMITH VS. HOWELL
Hoke Smith (winner)
Former publisher of the Atlanta Journal; segregation proponent.
Ran on a reform platform that included a constitutional amendment for disfranchisement of the African-American male voter. Clark Howell
Current editor/publisher of the Atlanta Constitution.
Said that the Democratic white primary and the poll tax kept blacks “in their place.”
Claimed that Smith was not actually the racial separatist that he claimed to be.
Both candidates fan the flame of racism
THE 1906 ATLANTA RACE RIOT ORIGINS OF SOCIAL UNREST ATLANTA’S NEWSPAPERS HELP INCITE RIOT The Atlanta Georgia published editorials on “The Reign of Terror for Southern Women” about ending black crime. The Atlanta Journal stressed crime coverage and reported stories based on rumor and half-truths or fabricated stories. The Atlanta Evening News and The Georgian published many false reports of assaults by black men on white women and other “outrages.” The Atlanta Evening News editor applauded lynchings and supported the Ku Klux Klan. Example headlines: Girls Jumps Into Closet To Escape Negro Brute Half Clad Negro Tries to Break Into House Bold Negro Kisses White Girl’s Hand Negro Knocks Down Aged White Woman: She Dies…
THE 1906 ATLANTA RACE RIOT ORIGINS OF SOCIAL UNREST ATLANTA’S NEWSPAPERS HELP INCITE RIOT Friday, September 21 st : The Atlanta Evening News runs an editorial entitled “IT IS TIME TO ACT, MEN.” Saturday, September 22 nd : Newsboys from some papers stand on downtown street corners with extra editions of the papers outlining four new assaults.
A mob of over 5000 white men began randomly attacking African-American men, boys and women in downtown Atlanta, pulling them from trolley cars and barbershops and chasing them down streets in the areas of Five Points, Central Avenue, Decatur Street, and Pryor Street.
Whites attack two African-American barbers and throw their bodies in an alleyway by the Georgia Railway and Electric Company building. Another man was killed on the Forsyth Street bridge.
Violence erupts across the city. Whites dragged the bodies of three black men to the foot of Henry Grady’s statue at Forsythe and Marietta street.
African-American leaders request that the police and the militia provide protection as well as compensation for victims.
Leaders of both communities conduct meetings starting on Tuesday, September 25 th to discuss how to restore Atlanta’s image and how to deal with crime. The riot is denounced and a committee formed to raise relief funds for the victims and their families.
Prohibition goes into effect.
Hundreds of African-Americans leave Atlanta.
The last African-American is elected to the state legislature in 1907. A literacy test is required for African-American men during the voting process as part of the effort to continue disenfranchisement.
The Klu Klux Klan starts activities again throughout the southern states. The Anti-Defamation League starts in 1913 to help fight anti-Semitism.
The Atlanta Evening News is censured by a Fulton County grand jury and eventually goes out of business.
African-Americans create their own schools, clinics, churches, and reformatories, the Neighborhood Union is formed to promote heritage, fight poverty, etc.
African-American elites distance themselves from the African-American lower classes.
Further polarization of the races exists when African-Americans establish businesses on Auburn Avenue and housing in west Atlanta.
THE 1906 ATLANTA RACE RIOT KNOWN VICTIMS Shot in Leland’s Barber Shop Henry Welch Gash on forehead Ed Watson Gash on head William Wardlow Stabbed in head and chest Tom Walton Badly cut on Decatur Street G.C. Tomlinson Head and back cut Roy Thomas Eye gouged out; head cut Ben Nelson Shot in the right leg A. C. Moore Stabbed in hip J. C. McCoy Stabbed in hip Walter Jeffers Skull crushed Frank Scudder Fractured skull; died at Grady Hospital Marshall Carter Shot by another black man on Thurman St. Stinson Ferguson Hit on Head Georg Dickerson Shot by officer Frank Fambro Knifed to death on Forsyth Street Bridge Frank Smith Shot; died at Grady Hospital Clem Rhodes Hanged by residents in East Port on Sat. night Zeb Long Shot by mob on Peters Street Milton Brown Killed John White Shot by police officers in Brownsville George Wilder Shot to death by mob while being transported to the Tower Sam McGruder
THE 1906 ATLANTA RACE RIOT 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY Coalition to Remember the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot http://www.1906atlantaraceriot.org/ Centennial Remembrance Weekend Sept. 21–24, 2006 Atlanta, Georgia August 19 – September 30, 2006 : 515 Auburn Avenue What Color the Dawn: Breaking the Silence on the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot. A listening station of oral histories by first/second generation witnesses. Tuesday, August 29th 2006: Margaret Mitchell House “Rage in the Gate City” lecture by Rebecca Burns Lecture Sunday, July 9th, 1:00 p.m. Walking Tour: Walking tour of the sites related to the riot; starts in Woodruff Park at the gazebo. Radio Show: Thursday, July 20th 2006: 89.3 FM WRFG's Good Morning Blues. Cliff Kuhn will join host Phil Graitcer to talk about the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot. Sept. 3, 2006-Jan. 27, 2007: The Dalton Gallery of Agnes Scott College: FENCE by LISA TUTTLE: A Public Work of Art in Honor of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot April 30 th , 2006 4:00pm-6:00pm Clairmont Crest Apts. / 1861 Clairmont Road Dr. Harvey Newman, GA State University conducts a panel discussion with Ms. Christine King Farris (MLK Jr.’s sister), Ms. Rose Walter Palmer (niece of Walter White, the Secretary of the NAACP from 1931-1955).
THE 1906 ATLANTA RACE RIOT 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY Coalition to Remember the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot http://www.1906atlantaraceriot.org/ Centennial Remembrance Weekend Sept. 21–24, 2006 Atlanta, Georgia Thursday, September 21st, 2006 : Old Ebenezer Baptist Church A memorial service at the church, then a processional and to and graveside service at the South-View Cemetery. Thursday, September 21 st , 2006: Old Fourth Ward A candlelight vigil from the King gravesites on Auburn Avenue through the Fourth Ward. Friday, September 22 nd – Sunday, September 25 th Georgia State University and Atlanta University Center’s Woodruff Library Panel discussions, book signings, and artistic interpretations.
THE 1906 ATLANTA RACE RIOT WORKS CITED Garrett, Franklin M. Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events . Volume II. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 1969. Auchmutey, Jim. “Deadline: How Atlanta’s newspapers helped incite the 1906 race riot.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution 17 September 2006: B1 and B3. Auchmutey, Jim “A century later, a city remembers” Atlanta Journal-Constitution 17 September, 2006: A1 and A14. Wells-Barnett, Ida B. Lynch Law in Georgia: A six-week record in the center of southern civilization as faithfully chronicled by the Atlanta journal and the Atlanta constitution ... the lynching of nine men for alleged arson. Pamphlet Circulated in Chicago 1899. The 1906 Atlanta Race Riot: An Explanatory Timeline by Clarissa Myrick-Harris, Ph.D. http://www.1906atlantaraceriot.org/ “The Neighborhood Union” collection. Special Collections in the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Atlanta University. http://www.auctr.edu/collections/titles/nuc.asp . http://www.1906atlantaraceriot.org/ http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/