Epilogue: The Suburban Shift, 1970s–Present
Forsyth County's stretch of the Georgia 400 expressway opened in November of 1974, allowing Cumming residents to travel to downtown Atlanta in 45 minutes or less.
Courtesy of Georgia Newspaper Project, Georgia Historic Newspapers.
A 1994 publication from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs documents Forsyth County's explosive growth during the 1980s and early 1990s. It still observed, though, that "Forsyth County's population is almost totally white."
Courtesy of University of Georgia. Map and Government Information Library, Georgia Government Publications.
As growth continued to skyrocket, subdivisions popped up all over the northern end of Fulton County and the southern part of Forsyth County. This photo is from the construction of one such neighborhood in Alpharetta.
Copyright Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Courtesy of Georgia State University. Libraries, Atlanta Journal Constitution Photographic Archives.
Georgia 400 connected Forsyth County—which had only 16,928 residents as of the 1970 Census—to the rest of the Atlanta metropolitan area. While Black people didn’t immediately start moving into the area, new white residents with less hostile racial views would play a major role in Cumming's transformation. Attitudinal changes only accelerated in the years that followed as Forsyth County became the fastest growing county in the nation for the first time starting in the late 1990s. By the mid-1990s, the county was no longer a sundown town. At the same time, though, strict zoning laws and a lack of affordable housing have kept the proportion of Black residents lower than it was in 1912.
Regardless, Forsyth County is rapidly diversifying. Among its 244,252 residents is one of the fastest-growing Asian populations in the nation, anchored by a growing community of Indian immigrants. This influx of new residents has caused tensions, but it has also contributed to growing local support for recognizing and memorializing the community’s history of racial violence. Around 1,000 residents participated in a Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020, and in January 2021, the Community Remembrance Project of Forsyth County unveiled a historical marker to document the lynching of Rob Edwards.