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The Lynching Project: Twiggs County

Overview:

Twiggs County is a County that is located near Macon in Central GA. The County was name after General John Twiggs. Who was the leader of the Georgia Militia during the american revolution.Twigg County's seat currently belongs to Jeffersonville. Twiggs County is bordered by Wilkinson, Bibb and Jones, Lauren, Bleckley, and Houston Counties. Twiggs is a rural county, with about 10,000 residents. In 2010, over 40% of its population was African American. Twiggs county has a history of racism and violence, highlighted by the several black men who were lynched in the county.

Marvin Harris 2/12/1916 - Harris, 21, was hanged by a mob for allegedly murdering S.A. Fountain, 60, a prominent farmer of Wilkinson County. Harris allegedly shot Fountain over a dispute over his work on Fountain’s farm. Fountain’s wife claims that Harris confessed the killing to her, but threatened her life if she told anyone. Later that evening she told her neighbors that her husband never returned home from the fields and that she suspected Mr. Harris of the killing. A mob of men reached Harris before authorities could and he was hanged and repeatedly shot, with his head literally being shot into pieces. Harris allegedly confessed that Mrs. Fountain’s story was correct prior to his murder.

John Goolsby 10/26/1899 - A St. Louis Post-Dispatch excerpt from October 29, 1899 claims that J.L. Robertson, a wealthy Twiggs County planter died of wounds inflicted by John Goolsby, who was lynched by a mob for his assault of Robertson.

Charles Forsyth Jr & Willis White 1/22/1897Both of these men were accused for the murder of Mrs. Rowland. The news article states that the crime occurred about a half a mile away from town. When people heard news about what the two were “accused” of doing, a group of at least 100 “masked” mob men ransacked the jail around 12 am - 1 am to abduct both Charles and Willis where they were hung both at the same time and were both found to be riddled with bullets.




Anti-LynchingIn 1950, a federal anti-lynching bill was re-proposed to Congress. Southern Democrats, such as Georgia’s Richard Russell were determined to block the bill’s passage. To Russell, the a federal anti-lynching bill would do nothing but be used by Civil Rights advocates to play politics and advance their cause, a cause deemed radical and against states’ rights by Russell. Many Georgians shared the same attitude as Russell, but some were in favor of an anti-lynching bill as a way to formally denounce racism and violence and to repay the families of victims.Russell’s common refrain when responding to mail urging him to vote in favor to the bill was that, like any rational human, he opposed lynching but that the bill single out southern states while ignoring racial violence in the north and west, specifically citing the Detroit race riots. Russell valued states’ rights and Jim Crow over federally denouncing lynchings and repaying lynching victims. 

Lynchings Today: Police brutality against unarmed African Americans is the 21st century equivalent to lynchings. To clarify, these killings are not lynchings in the technical sense. They are not extremely public displays of mob violence. Police shooting of unarmed black men occur within the bounds of the law, while lynchings certainly did not. However, just as 19th Century lynchings served as terroristic spectacles meant to scare black people into “their place” - accepting Jim Crow and disenfranchisement - so to do police killings serve to scare the black community into acceptance that they are in danger any time they are around police. Lastly, just as lynch mobs and their organizers normally faced no charges or punishment for their murders, police officers who kill unarmed black civilians rarely face any sort of punishment for their actions.

Bibliography

"Twiggs County Ga, News 1910-1919." georgiageniology.

https://georgiagenealogy.org/twiggs2/news1910%20-%201919.html

"John Goolsby Lynched -- 1899." Newspapers.com. 22 April 2017.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/10448541/john_goolsby_lynched_1899/

Hill, Karlos K. "21st Century Lynchings." fifteeneightyfour.

http://www.cambridgeblog.org/2016/02/21st-century-lynchings/

Letter from Senator Russell to Mrs. A.M. Royer, January 11,1950, Richard B. Russell Library, Athens, GA, Richard B. Russell Papers, Box II.51, Folder 9

Letter from Senator Russell to Samuel R. Grice, April 16,1949, Richard B. Russell Library, Athens, GA, Richard B. Russell Papers, Box II.51, Folder 9

https://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/native-american-history-of-twiggs-county-georgia.htm

Letter from Mrs. N.W. Meadows to Senator Russell, June 4,1947, Richard B. Russell Library, Athens, GA, Richard B. Russell Papers, Box II.51, Folder 8

The Lynching Project: Twiggs County