Remembering Sept. 22, 1906: It wasn’t a riot, it was a massacre

Remembering Sept. 22, 1906: It wasn’t a riot, it was a massacre
Taj Anwar Baoll (Photo courtesy of Fulton County Remembrance Coalition/Carlos York)

Ann Hill-Bond is an independent writer and National Black Journalist Association “Black Press Grant” recipient. On Sept. 22, 2021, Hill-Bond and others collected soil as part of the “Stories From the Soil” project with the Fulton Remembrance Coalition. This event took place in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative. They remembered 25 lives that were taken 115 years ago on Sept. 22, 1906, in what was deemed the “1906 Atlanta Race Riot.” Hill-Bond gave rolling out her take on the event and the accounts of those who were lost on that day.

What happened to trigger this riot?

The Atlanta Evening News, candidates Hoke Smith, former publisher of the Atlanta Journal, and Clark Howell, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, used the power of the White media to convince White citizens to disrupt and dismantle African Americans’ civil and economic rights through planned segregation tactics. A false narrative was published about four White women being assaulted by Black men. Following this, the city took to the streets to seek “justice” by killing and assaulting Black citizens.

How long did this last and what was the damage?

From Sept. 22 through Sept. 25, African Americans experienced four long days of being violently terrorized, as White mobs roamed through downtown Atlanta and into predominantly black neighborhoods. They were burning houses, destroying Black-owned businesses, and lynching any Black person unfortunate enough to be in the mob’s path. Today, it is still being reported that over 25 African American people were confirmed killed that weekend. However, many estimate that there were closer to 100 total killed. The terror moved from the Five Points area of downtown Atlanta through South Atlanta, the neighborhood formally known as Brownsville. Through the work of The Equal Justice Initiative Reports “Lynching in America” we now know horrific accounts of many that were killed during the four-day massacre.

Continue reading on the next page.

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