ATLANTA — Thursday marks the 116th anniversary of Atlanta’s race massacre, when a mob of white residents attacked and killed more than 20 Black people.
Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston spoke with two descendants who say their grandfather fought back but was still punished.
During the attack, Alex Wesley Walker took out his gun to protect his home and pregnant wife. He killed a police officer who was part of the mob. He was later sentenced to life in prison.
But his two granddaughters came to Atlanta to say his story didn’t end behind bars.
“Out of 200 people arrested, he was the one charged with the murder of Jim Heard,” granddaughter Patrice Walker Bearden said. “He worked at the Kimball Hotel and found out that they were getting ready to riot, he defended his family and community.”
She said many in Atlanta thought that was the end of his life.
“We came here to set the record straight,” Bearden said.
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She said the trumped-up charges were dismissed on appeal.
Their grandparents immediately left Atlanta, moving first to Birmingham then Chicago, Illinois, and started a new life up north.
“He lived to be 80 years old,” Bearden said.
Bearden and her sister Yolanda, both from Chicago, came to Atlanta to break bread during the city’s equitable dinners where people talked about important historical issues like the massacre.
“They came into our community with guns because of some of some falsehoods perpetrated by the media,” Bearden said.
A total of 25 Blacks and two whites were killed.
Bearden said coming to Atlanta and sharing the rest of her family’s story has been a great experience.
“The stars are aligned for us to turn the corner on this chapter,” Bearden said.
The Walker sisters have spent time this week learning more about the massacre and their family’s close connection to it.
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