Forsyth County Biracial Committee Could Take A Year To Complete Work
CUMMING, Ga. (AP) _ The biracial committee formed to improve race relations in virtually all- white Forsyth County put the issue of land allegedly unlawfully taken from blacks decades ago at the top of its list of things to consider.
The agenda, which took four months to complete, was announced Wednesday. Leading it was ″repatriation of land allegedly unlawfully taken″ from blacks.
″I really think it is too early to reach any conclusion about the entire (land) question,″ said committee member Felker Ward, an Atlanta attorney. ″About the only thing we can say at this point is we’ve taken a look at it.″
Blacks were forced from the county in 1912 following the death of a white teen-ager who reported she had been raped by three black youths. One youth was lynched and two were hanged after a trial.
The land repatriation issue was the top on a list of demands made by the Coalition to End Fear and Intimidation in Forsyth County, a group organized by Atlanta City Councilman Hosea Williams.
Williams led two civil rights marches in January that drew widespread attention to the county 40 miles north of Atlanta.
Committee Chairman Phill Bettis had estimated the 12-member panel’s work would take three months, but said Wednesday that it would require six months to a year.
The committee, composed of six Forsyth County residents and six coalition appointees, also said it would discuss:
- Possibly reimbursing Cumming and Forsyth County organizations for expenses from the two marches Jan. 17 and Jan. 24. A group of Forsyth County political and business leaders put reimbursement at the top of a list of demands presented to the committee at its first meeting in February.
- Whether federal or state fair housing and fair employment laws have been violated in Forsyth County.
- The presence or growth of hate groups in the county. Bettis said there is a dispute regarding the size of such groups as the Ku Klux Klan and the recently formed Forsyth County Defense League.
- Protection of blacks who might visit the county and protection of Forsyth County residents visiting other areas.
Bettis said the committee also would look at ″cultural exchanges″ with black communities and ″potential minority contribution to the county.″