Blacks oppressed by white and violent hate groups across the Deep South saw reason to celebrate on this day in 1988. The Ku Klux Klan and the Southern White Knights of Forsyth County, Ga. were ordered to pay nearly $1 million to its Black victims.
On January 17, 1987, around 55 marchers gathered in the predominately white county to host a “Brotherhood March” that was going peacefully. Around 200 angry white mob members began insulting the group and attacking them with stones and other objects. Outrage over the event led to even larger march the following week.
According to some accounts, the gathering of 20,000 in the county was the largest protest of its sort since 1970. Around two-thirds of the group was reportedly white and faced off against 1,000 white counter-protesters.
The event garnered unwanted national attention, and the NAACP and other major activist groups were aligned in seeing justice for the victimized. During the trial, one plaintiff, civil rights activist Rev. Hosea Williams, dropped out of the case. It was suggested by Georgia State Representative J. E. McKinney that Williams’ public withdrawal was a stunt and that he allegedly sold movie rights to the case behind his fellow plaintiffs’ back.
The actual verdict was reached on Oct. 6 of that year but unsealed on this date. It was the second victory vs. the Klan in two years, as an Alabama jury awarded one woman $7 million from the group over the murder of her son.
PHOTO: (KKK Rally 2006) Craig O’Neal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.