To understand the context of the 1906 Race Riot we must begin by discussing the events that took place the summer before. During the summer of 1906 the racial divide of Atlanta was brought to the forefront of the political scene during the gubernatorial election in August. Governor candidate Hoke Smith campaigned on various ideas of reform but strongly called for a constitutional amendment for the disenfranchisement of blacks in response to the “Negro Question” (Hudson, 111). White politicians brought to the surface the reality of the deep hatred for blacks and their advancements which generally mirrored that of the white population in the state of Georgia. White supremacy rhetoric ran rampant through the political scene pushing Hoke Smith to the Governor’s office on August 22nd 1906, exactly one month before the Atlanta Race riot broke out (Hudson, 111).
On September 22nd 1906 the Atlanta Race Riot began. Lasting four days, the riot included looting, murdering, and random mob violence that resulted in twelve dead and seventy injured, although some figures differ (Hudson, 112). Jacobs states “the mob was made up of a mix between youth, drunks, and hoodlums, b...
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...t Blacks new something (the riot) was going to happen sooner or later” (Brundage, vii). If the black citizens expected “something” was going to happen then is clearly shows racial unity for the greater good of the state was not present. Clearly the Riot would not have occurred if the city of Atlanta (and state of Georgia) were racially unified.
Through the Race Riot of 1906 we can see the magnitude of racial divide within the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Racism, dis-trust, progressive reforms, rumors, and politics all encouraged the tensions which ultimately led to the Race Riot. This time period was complex. Georgia was in flux, trying to get investors and businesses to come to the state of Georgia while managing the race problems and portraying the vision of racial unity. All of these issues contributed to this tumultuous time in our states history.
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