ATLANTA (CBS46) -- As America remembers the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which only recently became mainstream, the city of Atlanta also experienced a similar tragedy: The 1906 Atlanta Race Riot.
Racial tension was running high at the turn of the century in Atlanta. The city was growing, Black people were competing for economic prosperity, but the immediate cause of the attack centered around the alleged assaults on white women.
“It happened here in Atlanta, just like in Tulsa,” said Tyrone Brooks, a former state representative. “The mob were well known people and the state of Georgia did nothing to prosecute them.”
Brooks contributed to the Fulton County Remembrance Coalition, which in 2006, on the 100-year anniversary of the riot, recognized the brutal attack on Atlantans, most of whom were Black.
“I wasn’t surprised, but I was very angry because it wasn’t taught in our public schools’ systems, our higher academia,” said Brooks.
The riot, which occurred between September 22 and 24, started after newspapers in town printed bogus reports of Black men assaulting white women. Dozens of Black people were killed, their communities and businesses destroyed.
“White people just went berserk,” said Brooks. “Everything Black-owned was burned. We saw old photographs of African Americans hanging from the poles, the light poles and telephone poles and even trees up and down that Peachtree Corridor.”
Brooks said the Atlanta Race Riot, much like the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, was suppressed history, but he believes the dark parts of our past must be exposed so they can never be allowed to happen again.
“The only way to prevent it from happening is to learn about it and to teach it to our children and unborn generations,” he said.
The 1906 Atlanta Race Riot is now part of the social studies curriculum being taught in Georgia public schools. The Atlanta History Center also chronicles the events of the riot as part of its exhibits.