An ugly American history


I am reading a book called Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips. The book details how the white citizens of Forsyth County, Georgia, beginning in 1912, drove out the African-American population through murder and intimidation. It is the most visually terrifying and horrific book I have ever read.

One hundred and five years ago the South had laws on the books referred to as Jim Crow Laws. These laws mandated the segregation of public schools, public places, and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains for whites and blacks. These laws also gave the white population the perceived power to do as they please to blacks. Now many of you may believe these laws were vanquished many years ago, try 52 years, 1965. The Jim Crow Laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Sadly even though these statutes may have disappeared the attitudes, and the racism from people, communities and groups has remained even today. It appears old habits die hard.

A quick history lesson, Jim Crow wasn’t a person, Jim Crow was a disparaging and derogatory name for blacks. An exaggerated caricature of what whites believed blacks looked like and represented. It was a wholly racist view marked by and with an image that continues to prevail even today in some circles.

This book has made me about as uncomfortable as any I have ever read. This isn’t a work of fiction, it relies on first hand accounts, and newspaper articles to tell a story about the absolute disregard one race of humans had over another race of humans. The story is graphic and the pictures even more so. It is hard to imagine, even comprehend that one group of people could be treated as shamefully as the African-American citizens of this country were. And what I find interesting is that according to the latest census data, Forsyth County, Georgia with a total population of 212,438 people is, today, 83.7% white, and 3.7% African-American. A very small and disproportionate number compared to other Southern counties, mine included. What that tells me is that racism is alive and well in Forsyth County, Georgia whether they acknowledge it or not.

Given some of the hot topics and trends of our most recent election I would highly recommend reading this book. It will make you uncomfortable, sad and hopefully mad but it will also make you empathic. You will have a better sense of what it is like to walk in the historical shoes of our African-American brothers and sisters and why so many still harbour the pain and concerns of the past.   


About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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7 Responses to An ugly American history

  1. Black population in my county is around 3%. The county voted 68% Trump. Lots of work to do here starting with the virtually non-existent Democratic Party. According to SPLC I have numerous hate group as neighbors. Maybe I should just move. LOL. Your book sounds like a must read. Thanks for you blog, I always look forward to reading your stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Will says:

      That unfortunately is the story of America. Voluntary segregation to associate with the like minded. Excuses like better schools and higher home values. No community roots. that takes talking to Others. Fear is the root cause. Those of us without the resources or political closemindness have no choice but to make it better. Why was the grass always greener on the other side? Somebody paid someone else to take care of it then posted a big sign, Keep Out. No kids feeling the grass on their toes. Playing with their kids.
      Would really like to say keep up the good fight but can’t. Georgia was also the place where the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cherokees to be a sovereign nation in response to the White Georgians. Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the ruling. The Trail of Tears was the last of three waves to leave. The first were all the leaders in the suit. Sold of their plantations and slaves to the rich whites. The second exodus was after the first established themselves. The last has their homes and corps stolen before they could bring in the crops. We know the ending to take.
      History does repeat itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mwdunham says:

    You may not know this but what you write comes from a brave soul. You give me hope. PRO (press right on)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know that but thank you. I live in a very sheltered and insulated world. Some of it is my own doing but the vast majority I must blame on society, particularly the Southern society. I don’t have much in the way of answers but sometimes having more questions makes more sense to my simple little mind. I think if we all asked more questions, searched for the whys, we would discover more about our self and the world we live in. Thank you for reading and thank you for being you.


  3. Patty says:

    There are this books and movies I think should be mandatory at high schools.
    Added this book to my ‘have-to-read-list’.

    Liked by 1 person

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