Two victims in 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre identified, nearly 120 years later

ATLANTA — This week marks the 117th anniversary of the 1906 Atlanta race massacre.

The massacre was a dark day in Atlanta history when at least 25 Black people were murdered by an angry White mob.

Monday, researchers with the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project and the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society of Metro Atlanta identified who they believe to be two of at least nine unknown victims.

“Their death certificates show that they were killed in that time frame and off to the right near both names it says in parenthesis, riot,” said Hank Klibanoff, the Director of the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project.

The massacre started on September 22, 1906, and went on for several days.

According to historians, after several false news articles were published about attacks on White women, a mob of ten thousand White men and boys descended on Downtown Atlanta and killed at least twenty-five Black people.

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Monday morning, people gathered at the base of the Henry Grady statue in Downtown Atlanta.

Scholars said the statue is where the bodies of the dead were laid.

“We don’t know the exact reason, so we can’t speculate, but we know Black bodies were taken to this site,” said Darrin Sims, the Director of the Truth + Transformation Initiative.

Researchers told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington they next plan to search for the relatives and descendants of the newly identified victims.


“We begin to piece together family trees or did they have children. If they didn’t, who are their siblings, and did their siblings have children? And then we can begin to walk forward to find the descendants,” Slyvia Johnson with the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society of Metro Atlanta, explained.

There are a number of events scheduled this week, through the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, to commemorate the 117th anniversary of the 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre.

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