During the hot summer of 1906, anger simmered in Atlanta, a city that outwardly savored its reputation as the Gate City of the New South, a place where the races lived peacefully, if apart, and everyone focused more on prosperity than prejudice. But racial hatred came to the forefront during a heated political campaign, and the city's newspapers fanned its flames with sensational reports alleging assaults on white women by black men. The rage erupted in late September, and, during one of the most brutal race riots in the history of America, roving groups of whites attacked and killed at least twenty-five blacks. After four days of violence, black and white civic leaders came together in unprecedented meetings that can be viewed either as concerted public relations efforts to downplay the events or as setting the stage for Atlanta's civil rights leadership half a century later.
Rage in the Gate City focuses on the events of August and September 1906, offering readers a tightly woven narrative account of those eventful days. Fast-paced and vividly detailed, it brings history to life. As June Dobbs Butts writes in her foreword, "For too long, this chapter of Atlanta's history was covered up, or was explained away.... Rebecca Burns casts the bright light of truth upon those events."