Truth and Reconciliation?
Governor Joe Frank Harris created the Cumming/Forsyth County Biracial Committee to address the issue of integrating Forsyth County. When the Black and white members of the committee couldn't agree on a solution, though, Harris chose to do nothing instead of implementing either group's recommendations.
Courtesy of Atlanta History Center, Southline Press, Inc. Photographs.
The racist mob flew Confederate flags and chanted racial slurs at the marchers before attacking them with rocks, bricks, bottles, and more. This photo only captures part of their crowd.
Copyright Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Courtesy of Georgia State University. Libraries, Atlanta Journal Constitution Photographic Archives.
Hosea Williams also continued to lead protests in Cumming in the following years due to the slow progress of Black integration into Forsyth County. The Forsyth County News covered this march and rally that took place in August 1992.
Copyright Fulton County News. Courtesy of Georgia Newspaper Project, Georgia Historic Newspapers.
In the wake of the march, Williams and his compatriots presented a list of demands to Forsyth County officials that included financial reparations for descendants of the Black landholders from 1912, investigations into violations of federal employment law and housing law, and affirmative action programs to hire more Black teachers and police officers. Governor Joe Frank Harris created the Cumming/Forsyth County Biracial Committee to explore these issues. The committee included six members endorsed by Cumming residents and six backed by civil rights leaders.
In December 1987, after ten months of negotiation, the committee failed to reach a unified recommendation and instead published two separate position papers. Local representatives scoffed at the civil rights activists' demands and insisted that Black residents had “voluntarily relocated” in 1912. In their eyes, Forsyth County had “no apologies to make to anyone,” much less reparations. The pro-civil rights group recommended that Harris establish a permanent race-relations committee to root out racial hatred in the long term. But Harris did nothing, effectively granting victory to the local whites. Integration slowed after that, and the county’s Black population was estimated at only thirty-nine a decade later.