Race and Reckoning in Forsyth County

1912-2020

Violent Enforcement: 1915, 1968, 1980

A pattern of violence against African Americans who attempted to defy Cumming’s sundown town emerged in the years after 1912. Even if they were accompanied by whites, Black visitors were frequently threatened or attacked by white supremacists.

In 1915, three years after the racial cleansing, Cumming was a scheduled stop for the Seeing Georgia driving tour. Driving tours were common during this era. They took wealthy Georgians to small towns around the state, frequently resulting in valuable investments. But when the convoy pulled into the Cumming square, a mob attacked the Black chauffeurs, and a lynching nearly took place before one passenger pointed a gun at the rioters.

Fifty years later, little had changed. Ten Black schoolchildren and their camp counselors tried to hold a campout by Lake Lanier in 1968, but after nightfall, a gang of white men surrounded the campground, chanting slurs and threatening them until they left.

Another shocking incident occurred in 1980 when Black firefighter Miguel Marcelli attended a work party with his girlfriend at a Lake Lanier campground. Two white men stalked him after the sun went down and shot him in the head as he drove away.