Cover of "Le Petit Journal", 7 October, 1906. Depicting the race riots in Atlanta, Ga.

A front page illustration in the French newspaper Le Petit Journal on Oct. 7, 1906, depicts the September 1906 race massacre in Atlanta, Ga.

Credit: Source / Bibliothèque nationale de France

Thursday on Political Rewind: The Atlanta Race Massacre occurred 115 years ago this week. On Sept. 22, 1906, a white mob began a four-day rampage through Black communities in Atlanta. Twenty-five Black residents were murdered, hundreds more were terrorized, and buildings and businesses were destroyed. The mob's anger was stoked by segregationist politicians and sensationalist reporting from the city's two major newspapers at the time, The Atlanta Constitution and The Atlanta Journal.

Despite its lasting damage, the Atlanta Race Massacre was largely ignored by city officials and many historians. It was not until 2006 that the city publicly recognized the event. The massacre was added to the Georgia's social studies curriculum in 2007.

We looked back at this underreported history with the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Ernie Suggs, who recently wrote about the subject to mark its 115th anniversary. He said the violence that day was part of a racist system that held sway across the country in many forms.

These racial acts of violence are not simply isolated expressions of individual expressions of hatred and what have you," Suggs said. "In many cases, they are linked to systems of white supremacy that exist in the South, systems of white supremacy that link together many segments of the white community. And now you have Black people beginning to penetrate into these segments. The response to this Black progress is going to come from many directions.”

In the news today, defiance of the ban on mask mandates on Georgia’s public university campuses is picking up steam. More than 50 faculty members at the University of Georgia said they will require students to wear masks in their classes. It is a move that could cost them their jobs.


Kevin Riley – Editor, The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution

Ernie Suggs – Reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dr. Kurt Young — Chairman of the department of political science, Clark Atlanta University