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LaGrange in Troup County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Lynching in America / Raising a Voice Against Racial Violence

 
 
Lynching in America Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
1. Lynching in America Marker
Inscription.
Lynching in America

Thousands of black people were the victims of lynching and racial violence in the United States between 1877 and 1950. The lynching of African Americans during this era was a form of racial terrorism intended to intimidate black people and enforce racial hierarchy and segregation. Lynching was most prevalent in the South. After the civil war, violent resistance to equal rights for African Americans and an ideology of white supremacy led to violent abuse of racial minorities and decades of political, social and economic exploitation. Lynching became the most public and notorious form of terror and subordination. White mobs were usually permitted to engage in racial terror and brutal violence with impunity as black people were pulled out of jails or turned over to mobs by law enforcement officials unwilling to protect them. Terror lynchings often included burning and mutilation sometimes in front of crowds numbering in the thousands. Many of the names of lynching victims were not recorded and will never be known, but over 580 documented lynchings took place in Georgia alone. Black men lynched in Troup County during this era include Willis Hodnett in 1884; Samuel Owensby in 1913; Austin Callaway in 1940; and Henry Gilbert, a Troup County resident killed in Harris County in 1947.

Raising a Voice Against Racial Violence

Lynchings of African Americans occurred with alarming frequency throughout the United States, including Troup County and surrounding areas. For decades, racial violence was a fact of life. African Americans were denied basic
Raising a Voice Against Racial Violence Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
2. Raising a Voice Against Racial Violence Marker
security of person and property. Fear of police, courts, and night-riding terrorists was powerful. In fall 1940, historic Warren Temple Methodist Church was a center of protest against this injustice. The catalyst was the lynching of Austin Callaway (also known as Austin Brown) in LaGrange on September 7, 1940. That night, a band of armed men took Callaway from the local jail, shot him repeatedly, and left him to die on a rural road. With no meaningful response from white officials, the African American community, led by Rev. L.W. Strickland, pastor at Warren Temple, held mass meetings and organized the first branch of the NAACP in LaGrange. In late October, Strickland wrote Thurgood Marshall, concluding, "[The city has] settled the matter by ignoring it." The lynching remained uninvestigated and no one was ever held responsible for it. Warren Temple, the NAACP members of the LaGrange community, and the family of Austin Callaway erected this marker in 2017 as a step toward recognition and healing. In January 2017, the Chief of Police, Mayor and city leaders formally apologized for the LaGrange Police Department's role in the lynching of Austin Callaway.
 
Erected 2017 by the Equal Justice Initiative, Community Remembrance Project.
 
Location. 33° 2.108′ N, 85° 1.472′ W. Marker is in LaGrange, Georgia, in Troup County. Marker is at the intersection of Union Street and East Depot Street, on the right when traveling south on Union Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 416 East Depot Street, Lagrange GA 30241, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8
Warren Temple United Methodist Church with marker on left side. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
3. Warren Temple United Methodist Church with marker on left side.
other markers are within walking distance of this marker. East Depot High School (approx. 0.3 miles away); Horace King Bridge Builder (approx. half a mile away); Troup County (approx. half a mile away); Lafayette (approx. half a mile away); Fuller Earle Callaway, Sr. (approx. half a mile away); The Nancy Harts (approx. half a mile away); George Michael Troup (approx. half a mile away); Confederate Dead (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in LaGrange.
 
Also see . . .
1. EJI article about dedication of marker. (Submitted on May 1, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Wikipedia article on Austin Callaway lynching. (Submitted on May 1, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. African AmericansCivil RightsNotable Events
 
East side of Warren Temple United Methodist Church on Union Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 29, 2017
4. East side of Warren Temple United Methodist Church on Union Street.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 1, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 1, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 121 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 1, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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