The Lynching Project: Greene County
In 1786, Nathanael Greene, an American Revolutionary War major general, founded Greene County, Georgia; which is located between Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia. There are three reported lynchings that occurred in Grene County between 1894 and 1920.
The climate in Greene County around this time was liberating for the hundreds of newly freed black people. According to John C. Inscoe’s book “ Georgia in Black and White: Explorations in Race Relations of a Southern State, 1865-1950,” black people fought for justice and on some occasions, they even struck back at their oppressors (Inscoe, 2009). As the black people were taking matters into their own hands and redefining what freedom will look like for them; the white people in Greene County were struggling to keep the power of white supremacy in this new society. White people became terrified after an incident in 1867 in which a group of black people jumped a white man because he killed Jackson, a black man, for arguing with him ( Inscoe, 2009, p.23). After this event, we began to see the Ku Klux Klan heavily involved in politics and the lynchings slowly starting to emerge.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Edward Cash lynching occurred, in Greene County, around 1894 for reasons that are still unknown. To access information, we researched the Ancestry Library database to obtain census data and other records from 1894. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful at finding any additional information relating to his life and murder. We hope that Mr. Cash got to say his goodbyes to his loved ones before his killing.
Dan Ahren lynching occurred on April 6, 1894, in Greene County, Georgia. According to GitHub, he allegedly committed a ”criminal assault on a married white woman.” According to William Fitzhugh Brundage’s “Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930,” Ahren had allegedly committed rape (272). We could not find any census or personal records. Although, we know the type of lynching (mass lynching); we do not know if his family attended this horrific event. We hope that he was at peace with himself before his murder.
On September 24, 1920, Felix Cremer's lynching took place in Greene County, Georgia. According to the GitHub database, Mr. Cremer had allegedly shot a well-known white farmer to death. Based on Arthur Franklin Raper's study Preface to Peasantry: A Tale of Two Black Belt Counties, he was “accused of sheltering a Black man who had wounded a local white planter”(23). As shown in the picture, Mr. Cremer's murdered was a consequence of "aiding a criminal" (Brundage,1993). According to this list and his death certificate, a lynching mob killed Mr. Cremer. After discovering his death certificate, we realized that his last name could be spelled two different ways," Creamer" instead of "Cremer." As reported by his death certificate, Mr. Cremer was a married farmer. Like our other victims, we hope that Mr. Cremer rests in peace.
In 2015, Greene County, Georgia experienced another lynching of an unnamed Black man just 95 years after the lynching of Felix Cremer. According to MSNBC News, the victim was founded hanging in a tree. It is reported that the victim was questioned by police a week earlier for the murder of a white woman.
Throughout America's history, there has always been a movement against lynching. Within this year alone, Congress has finally passed a law that makes lynching a federal crime. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, located in Alabama, is one of the county's first memorials dedicated to the victims that died from lynchings. In Georgia, there are several lynching memorials commemorate that address approximately 500 or more lynching victims. Our goal is to remember, honor, and celebrate the lives of every person who was murdered by a lynching.
A new lynching memorial rewrites American history. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/lynching-memorial-montgomery-alabama/index.h
Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Map: Georgia lynchings by county, 1880-1968. https://www.ajc.com/news/state--regional/map-georgia-lynchings-county-1880-1968/VgES641Na0mfErITv6jnBN/
Brundage, W. F. (1993). Lynching in the New South Georgia and Virginia, 1880 - 1930. Urbana, Ill.: Univ. of Ill. Pr. 272-279.
Carney, J. Senate passes bill to make lynching a federal crime. Retrieved from https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/430023-senate-passes-bill-to-make-lynching-a-federal-crime
Database, A. L. (n.d.). All Birth, Marriage & Death results for Felix Creamer. Retrieved from https://www.ancestry.com/search/categories/34/?name=Felix_Creamer&death=1920-9-24&name_x=1
Georgia lynching victims remembered as racial reconciliation efforts expand. Retrieved from https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2017/04/11/georgia-lynching-victims-remembered-as-racial-reconciliation-efforts-expand/
GitHub. Lab 3 lynching stats. https://gist.github.com/sqsmith/1b0bc9ba18b14c73e9d0
Inscoe, J. C. (2009). Georgia in black and white: Explorations in the race relations of a southern state, 1865-1950. 14-23.
Johnson, M. A.. Black man found hanged from tree in Greensboro, Georgia. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/black-man-found-hanged-tree-greensboro-georgia
Raper, A. F. (2005). Preface to peasantry: A tale of two black belt counties. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. 23.
W. (2019, March 07). Greene County, Georgia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greene_County,_Georgia