Activists Re-Enact 1946 Georgia Lynching
MONROE, Ga. (AP) _ Civil rights activists marked the 59th anniversary of an unsolved lynching Monday by re-enacting the brutal slayings of two black couples who were forced out of their car by a mob of white men and killed.
The scene was recreated with black volunteers acting as Ku Klux Klansmen, fireworks for gunshots and fake blood poured on for effect.
Lakeitha Lewis-Johnson, 30, cried during the re-enactment and turned away from the shouts of the Klan leader.
``My grandmother lived in that era,″ Lewis-Johnson said. ``She’d be scared to talk about this, even as an old woman. It’s a hurting feeling.″
Activists said they staged the re-enactment to gain support for the prosecution of anyone who may have been involved in what they called the last mass public lynching in the United States.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who joined religious and civil rights leaders at the rally, called for justice and urged those responsible to come forward.
``You know who you are, and God knows who you are,″ Jackson shouted. ``The police will not turn you in and the prosecutors will not pursue you, but the blood of the lynched cries out.″
Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey were riding with a white farmer when they were killed on July 25, 1946, a few days after Roger Malcom got into a fight with a white man. The mob forced them out of the car, dragged them down a wagon trail about 50 yards from a bridge over the Apalachee River and shot them, according to an FBI report. The farmer was spared.
On Monday, a crowd of about 200 watched as the lynchings of the Dorseys and Malcoms were brought to life. The men fought as the women pleaded for their lives. Dorothy Malcom, who was pregnant, wrapped her arms over her unborn child.
No one was ever charged in the lynchings, even though the FBI’s report named 55 suspects. State Rep. Tyrone Brooks said he knows of two living in Walton County, and a few others outside Georgia.
``This is a stain on our history, and a burden on our soul,″ Brooks said. ``But the stain can be erased, and the burden can be lifted. The eyes of the nation shall now focus on Monroe, Georgia, just as the eyes of the nation focused on Philadelphia, Mississippi, and Birmingham, Alabama,″ he said, referring to the recent prosecutions and convictions in civil-rights era slayings in those cities.
Last month, 1,000 members of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials unanimously passed a resolution urging prosecutors to bring charges in the case.
Walton County District Attorney Ken Wynne has said he understands the desire for justice but the case lacks sufficient witnesses and evidence.
The FBI was ordered to investigate the case in 1946 by President Truman but was thwarted by a lack of witnesses. Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Fred Stephens said recently that his office is pursuing every lead it gets.
``They are sparse,″ he said, ``but we have no doubt that there are still people in that community who have specific information about this case.″
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