Rage in the Gate City: The Story of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot

By Rebecca Burns | Go to book overview

1
A Lynching in Lakewood

“With a flash the deed was done and it will always remain
a mystery who was responsible for the death.”

Atlanta Constitution, August 1, 1906

Here is the story that Annie Laurie Poole told.1

By ten on the morning of July 31, 1906, it was already brutally hot and she decided to take a detour and pick some melons on the way to her neighbor’s place. She would offer Mrs. Cheshire a melon or two, take some home, and maybe enjoy one as she walked. A particularly fertile cantaloupe patch flourished off the side of Hapeville Road, which led from the Poole family property to the Cheshires’ farm.

Annie Laurie scrambled down from the road to the melon patch and started to pick the fruit, using her big sunbonnet as a basket. As she plopped the melons into her hat, she heard a noise in the undergrowth, and when she turned, saw a man dart out from behind the scrubby trees and weeds. He was a large black man, very tall, and he waved a thick stick, like a club, in his hand. Annie Laurie screamed as he grabbed her and she kept on screaming as he used her hair to yank her across the vines and dirt — a full forty feet — into a thicket of trees. Then, as he forced himself on her, she screamed, and she screamed, and she screamed, until she fainted.

That’s what she remembered happening, anyway.

A little black boy who worked at a farm down the way heard Annie Laurie scream and ran to tell Mrs. Poole. She raced down Hapeville Road

-9-

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Rage in the Gate City: The Story of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Notes on Language and Sources xi
  • Introduction - Atlanta, 1906 1
  • 1 - A Lynching in Lakewood 9
  • 2 - Politics of Fear 15
  • 3 - The Gate City 23
  • 4 - The Truck Farmer’s Wife 41
  • 5 - Harpers Ferry 45
  • 6 - Incident at Copenhill 56
  • 7 - Pastor Proctor’s Sermon 63
  • 8 - Two Meetings and One Party 74
  • 9 - Low Dives and Blind Tigers 83
  • 10 - Celebration 90
  • 11 - A Visit from William Jennings Bryan 101
  • 12 - Orrie Bryan’s Story 106
  • 13 - "Extra! Extra!" 111
  • 14 - Rage 118
  • 15 - Fighting Back 131
  • 16 - Attack on Brownsville 139
  • 17 - Negotiations 145
  • 18 - What Happened to Max Barber 153
  • 19 - On Trial 159
  • 20 - Christmas Unease 166
  • Epilogue - Atlanta, 2006 171
  • Notes 177
  • Selected Bibliography 197
  • Index 203
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