Friday, July 27, 2007

Moore's Ford

(Reenactment, victim Dorothy Malcom had her unborn baby cut from her womb.)

On July 25, 1946, four young African Americans -- George & Mae Murray Dorsey and Roger & Dorothy Malcom -- were shot hundreds of times by 12 to 15 unmasked white men in broad daylight at the Moore's Ford bridge spanning the Apalachee River, 60 miles east of Atlanta, Georgia. These killings, for which no one was ever prosecuted, enraged President Harry Truman and led to historic changes but were quickly forgotten in Oconee and Walton Counties where they occurred. No one was ever brought to justice for the crime.

MONROE, Georgia (CNN) -- The police were only about 50 yards down the road when the gun-wielding white mob stopped the car and dragged the two black men out, shoving them face first into the dirt.

The two women were next to be yanked from the burgundy Buick into the thick, sultry air of a Southern summer, one of them thrashing and flailing as she screamed and pleaded with the mob to spare her and her unborn child.

The lynch mob dragged the sharecroppers through the pine trees down a wagon trail to the Apalachee River and, on their leader's command, unleashed three torrents of gunfire.

-------My town here in the heartland gained notoriety for a 1940s lynching. On a Sunday morning Matt, a 22 y/o Black WWII veteran, was shot, beaten, dragged from the jail by a mob, tied to the back of a car, and dragged to the Black church - to make sure everyone was properly terrorized - he was doused in gasoline and burned, still alive. This case was also never solved.

Matt was accused of attacking a white woman in her home the night before. Nevermind that the 19 y/o girlie also living in the house left town immediately or that town gossip was Matt was tipping around with a white woman and her daddy and brothers were aware of the relationship.

An east coast professor/writer a few years ago published an "historical account" of our town's crime – he even visited Po'ville a few days and interviewed the elderly white victim and Matt's elderly sister. Sir, all I can say is "white-wash."

I grew up with this grisly account served as warning and to this day it haunts me. I still see an indifferent white crowd standing around, next to old cars with running boards, staring at Matt, body smoldering, reaching toward heaven with what's left of his charred hands. Lower class white folks here still mention the crime, almost as a casual reminder not to be too uppity.

The local sheriff at the time, was "attacked" as he tried to "stop the lynching", but could not identify any of the mob. But some old folks know the truth, it's not "quickly forgotten". I see the sons and grandsons today of the perpetrators and the sheriff and they know what their daddies did.


Anonymous said...

I am from Monroe and have studied the Moore's Ford tragedy extensively and this is the first time I have heard anything about cutting the baby from the womb. The official reports that have been made public only make reference to a "possible" pregnancy.

Kate-A said...

With time truth is hard to find but regardless the crimes were atrocities and more often than not unpunished.

Locally, our oral history is not quite the same as the FBI reports or news report from that era. However, I put more stock in oral over official simply b/c of the era they were written in.

Instinct would tell me if official reports refer to a "possible" pregnancy then there was a fetus cut from the womb. History at that time was written for and by white folks who did not, would not, could not admit to their atrocities.

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