The 1946 Moore’s Ford Lynching Re-enactment, Monroe, Georgia (2009)–Still Instructive and Relevant Today

The Annual Re-enactment of the 1946 Moore’s Ford Lynching is scheduled this year on July 25, 2020 in Monroe, Georgia.  It is a reminder of our country’s and our state’s racist past–that in 2020 has simply morphed into different forms.  I think it’s hard for White people to imagine the fear and terror that Black people experiencing racial profiling. or police brutality feel–or even the daily anxiety and fear of being misjudged, ignored, accused, disrespected, discriminated against, or denied basic human rights.  This video documentary of the 6th re-enactment which I filmed of the 2010, not only invokes the injustice and tragedy of the Moore’s Ford lynching–but the end of the re-enactment invokes the real terror of brutality and murder–terror that people are speaking out about today in regarding to police brutality in particular.  Remember, in 1946, many of the men in the KKK were men of influence in local communities including police, farmers, and even local officials–which is why the federal government had to bring in outside agencies to investigate this crime.

In 1946, two African American couples, (the Malcolms and the Dorseys)–were pulled over and shot (lynched) by the KKK at Moore’s Ford Bridge in Monroe, Georgia.  Mrs. Dorothy Malcolm was 7 months pregnant–the baby was cut out of her womb and killed.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was on his way to investigate the lynching when he was assassinated in Memphis.  The murder of these five people is a crime that has yet to be solved.  Every year, the community re-enacts the lynching in hopes of raising public awareness, community solidarity and healing, and as part of the continuing struggle to find clues and allies to help solve the crime so that the families and community can have a sense of closure.  The re-enactment drama has been directed by Cassandra Greene, Director of the nonprofit WOWW Ministries for over a decade.  In the past, for many years, former State Representative Tyrone Brooks and SCLC leader Bobbie Howard organized the conference that accompanies the re-enactment.  The community and its leaders have been trying to get copies of the grand jury transcripts released for many years.  Interviews of Bobbie Howard and retired Representative Tyrone Brooks, as well as other speakers at the 6th re-enactment can be viewed at on the Government page or the Human Rights page.

In 1946, Bernie Hester, a white farm owner, is reported to have attacked and raped Mrs. Malcolm.  As a result, Roger Malcolm, her husband, got into an altercation with Hester and stabbed him.  Roger Malcolm was temporarily saved from the KKK when the sheriff put him in jail.  A local white farmer, Lloyd Harrison, bailed him out.  Both couples were in the car.  As Harrison drove the Malcolms and the Dorseys over Moore’s Ford Bridge, the KKK stopped the car and surrounded it.  The KKK drug the two couples out of the car into a nearby field and shot them over 90 times.  They cut the baby out of the womb and killed it as well.  This heinous crime has been a trauma that has shrouded the entire Monroe, Georgia community ever since.

Monroe, Georgia was for many years considered the lynching capitol of the state.  This lynching occurred shortly after Eugene Talmadge, (who was running for re-election as governor of Georgia) visited Monroe and made a campaign speech promising to prevent Blacks from being able to vote in the primaries in the future if he was elected.  African Americans had just been granted the right to vote for the first time–which angered Whites in local communities.  Talmadge was running for election on the promise that he would take away that right.  His speech is believed to have inflamed racism–and in it, he  very clearly implied immunity for any lynchings that might occur.

Clearly, the use of White racism to consolidate voting blocks to get elected is not new–but what is even more shocking is that it is still happening today.  In Georgia.  And in the presidency of the United States.  It is shocking to hear legitimate protestors called “thugs”  while violent White supremacists are called “good people”–by the president–these are racist corrupt lies.  It is a fact that several White supremacist men have been arrested in several different states for violent acts including killing police–after they infiltrated protests and used protests as a cover for their violent acts, which also included intimidating peaceful protestors with bats and guns, and damaging local businesses.  Many White supremacist groups are anti-government and hate police.  At least three state governors have spoken publicly about these groups infiltrating protests. Responsible governors have specifically stated that there are three groups of people at these protests:  legitimate protestors seeking social justice regarding racism, looters, and White supremacists.  While there may be some overlap of these groups–they are for the most part–separate groups of people.  There is NO evidence of Antifa being involved in any of these protests.  Despite that FACT, the president and some congressmen who don’t want to address racism–continually spout lies about protestors and portray protests as violent–when in fact the vast majority of protests are peaceful.

The fact that crooked politicians can STILL use racism to consolidate a voting block–is a national tragedy–a clear example of systemic racism–a public disgrace–unethical, unspiritual, and unChristian.  The fact that these politicians got elected is a combination of systemic White racism and voter suppression–which is a very serious problem in Georgia, but also throughout the U.S.

Many protests are marches that begin and/or end with small or massive gatherings that spotlight thoughtful profound speakers, poignant and powerful speeches—Mothers of sons and daughters murdered by police, people who have experienced racial profiling or brutality, people speaking about structural racism and specific reforms and laws that are needed, and people who have been working tirelessly and peacefully for social justice for their entire lives.

In the last few months, we have seen NUMEROUS Black men and women brutalized and murdered by police.  In the last month, numerous Black men have been found hanging from trees in several states–with police quick to dismiss them as suicides until public outcry forces them to investigate more thoroughly.  Structural racism in the criminal justice system, racial profiling, inequality in education, poverty, lack of equal access to health care and many other forms of structural injustice or structural “lynching” have been brought to the forefront of national attention.

At the same time, there has been an outpouring of courage by protestors of many colors led by the Black community, Black Lives Matter, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, and many other groups.  These organizations have communicated specific changes that need to be made–and significant changes are starting to happen.  Laws have been passed–most recently Georgia’s Hate Crime Bill.  The “Say Their Names” law in NY, and other laws in other states, for example, one yesterday that eliminates police immunity.  These laws are just the beginning and real, massive structural changes still have to be openly discussed and addressed.  New York Governor Cuomo has made it mandatory for counties to create dialogues between police and communities to come up with needed changes and pass laws to implement them in order for them to get state funding by April 1, 2021.  Around the country Confederate and other racist statues such as that of Christopher Columbus, have legally come down–and more are on their way down.

In my previous blog, I listed about 40 types of structural and systemic forms of racism that need to change.  It is a big list–but one thing that COVID has taught us–(when everything except essential work was suddenly abruptly shut down and people stayed home)–is that–CHANGE CAN HAPPEN QUICKLY AND IN A BIG WAY.   IT’S A MATTER OF WILL.  Change CAN be peaceful.  I don’t believe  that people will settle for anything less than real, substantive, and lasting structural changes this time.  I truly believe that people of all colors want a world where Black Lives Truly Do Matter so that All Lives Will Actually Matter.  I believe we all want a world where ALL people can have good incomes, meaningful fulfilling work, housing, education, safe neighborhoods, healthy food, healthy environments, green spaces, sustainability, healthy communities, collaboration, cooperation, trust, fulfillment, and love.  We shouldn’t settle for anything less than true social justice.



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