From the July 23, 2006, section of the "Leave or Die" series, Elliot Jaspin reports on the Atlanta media reaction to a 1987 civil rights march in Forsyth County, Ga., organized in part to recall the 1912 racial expulsion.
By Elliot Jaspin
1987 Civil Rights March Reignites County, Draws Out Klan
WASHINGTON BUREAUSunday, July 23, 2006
The next to weigh in was The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia's dominant Sunday newspaper, which, along with the American-Statesman, is owned by Cox Newspapers.
In a lengthy June 1987 Sunday front page story headlined "Tale of white Forsyth not fully factual," the paper reported that some characterizations of the 1912 expulsion were overblown because a few blacks remained in the county. Based on its review of courthouse records, the paper concluded that many blacks forced from the county were able to sell their land, some at a profit.
In a rebuttal printed more than a week after the story appeared, two members of the Legal Redress Committee pointed out that all but 30 of the 1,098 black residents had been driven off in 1912 and that the research on land ownership was suspect.
"There's little point in dwelling on what happened in the past; everybody knows there was ugliness and brutality and horror, sometimes not so long ago," the Atlanta Journal said in a December 1987 editorial. "But none of that can be changed no matter how much debate goes on or how much money some descendants get paid."