Martin Luther King Day in Georgia 1987: Hosea Williams marches on Forsyth County

Above: Some of the 25,000 who came for the second march on Jan. 24, 1987 Excerpt from The Way It Was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia, by Donald L. Grant and Jonathan Grant. All rights reserved. The most startling event during the 1987 King holiday celebration grew out of a “march for brotherhood” at the Forsyth County seat of Cumming on January 17, when a small group of marchers led by Hosea Williams was attacked.  Forsyth, just north of Fulton County, was home to thirty-eight thousand people, all of them white.  It had a reputation as a racist enclave ever since whites had driven out virtually all the county’s eleven hundred blacks in 1912 after a lynching and orgy…

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Take that, Scarlett O’Hara: The tale of Tunis Campbell is the true story of Georgia Reconstruction

Tunis G. Campbell, Sr. Georgia Black Reconstruction Leader By Jonathan Grant @Brambleman In 1861, a 49-year-old black abolitionist named Tunis G. Campbell, Sr., walked into a recruiter’s office in New York City and attempted to enlist in the Union Army. Like all African-Americans in the war’s early stages, he was rejected as unfit on the basis of his race. Campbell, a well-educated restaurateur, baker, and published author, didn’t give up. He wrote a letter to President Lincoln outlining a self-improvement plan for freed slaves after the war. As a result, he was sent to Union-occupied Hilton Head, S.C., to work with General Rufus Saxton. In 1865, Campbell—a tall, imposing man who dressed formally and wore spectacles—was appointed military governor of five Georgia…

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Georgia’s most famous runaway slaves became famous abolitionists

By Jonathan Grant @Brambleman I remain appalled at the “content” (or rather, the lack thereof) taught in Georgia’s 8th grade classrooms about the state’s history—and especially the short shrift its deep and rich African-American history receives. Of course, the same can be said for the nation’s classrooms during Black History Month. (Why February? Comedian Chris Rock once said, “Because it’s the shortest month.”) There would be no need for such a thing as Black History Month if African Americans’ story had been told properly and effectively all along, but that didn’t—and hasn’t happened—so here we are. Well, here’s something. When I worked on my father’s book, this story—which I’d never heard before—jumped off  the page at me. I was so enthralled by…

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Take that, Scarlett O’Hara: The tale of Tunis Campbell is the real story of Georgia Reconstruction

Tunis G. Campbell, Sr. Georgia Black Reconstruction Leader By Jonathan Grant @Brambleman In 1861, a 49-year-old black abolitionist named Tunis G. Campbell, Sr., walked into a recruiter’s office in New York City and attempted to enlist in the Union Army. Like all African-Americans in the war’s early stages, he was rejected as unfit on the basis of his race. Campbell, a well-educated restaurateur, baker, and published author, didn’t give up. He wrote a letter to President Lincoln outlining a self-improvement plan for freed slaves after the war. As a result, he was sent to Union-occupied Hilton Head, S.C., to work with General Rufus Saxton. In 1865, Campbell—a tall, imposing man who dressed formally and wore spectacles—was appointed military governor of five Georgia…

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Finishing my father’s life’s work: It’s not just a job, it’s an indenture

Original Caption: Grant says his father’s book is inextricably linked to other facets of his life. He was scouring page proofs of The Way It Was in the South when his wife went into labor with their second child—son Nathan (shown above). This is the story behind a Georgia Book of the Year. Ah, yes, I remember it well. I was sitting in the delivery room marking up page proofs when Judy’s situation suddenly required my complete attention. I tell people that while Nathan may look young (he’s a college freshman now), he was born during World War I. Dad would like that. The Way It Was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia was honored as an Editor’s Choice by American Heritage magazine and named…

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The classic book about Georgia’s black history

The Way It Was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia by Donald L. Grant Edited with an Introduction by Jonathan Grant 624 pp., hardcover University of Georgia Press, 2001   Editors’ Choice — American Heritage Winner, Georgia “Author of the Year” Award Available wherever books are sold, or from the University of Georgia Press.  Read about the effort to complete my late father’s life’s work This readable, fast-paced account covers 450 years of Georgia’s African-American experience. Solidly researched and documented, The Way It Was in the South sets the record straight on the progress of blacks and the contributions they made to the state — and the solid wall of white resistance they encountered nearly every step of the way.…

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