Race and Reckoning in Forsyth County

1912-2020

The Refugees

Forsyth County’s Black residents fled in all directions from the racial terror. The majority moved east across the Chattahoochee River to Hall County and Gainesville, a bustling city compared to the fields of Forsyth County. Several former Forsythians found success there, opening businesses and securing railroad jobs to climb their way into the middle class. Others went west into Cherokee County, towards the county seat of Canton.

Escaping Forsyth County didn’t guarantee an escape from the terror of the night riders, however. Newspapers from 1912 describe how attacks against refugees continued in Hall County until the local sheriff successfully fought off the local night riders. In neighboring Dawson County, gangs succeeded in forcing Black residents (including Forsyth refugees) from their borders.