Hosea Williams’s march on Forsyth County 25 years ago

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BRAMBLEMAN

A Novel by Jonathan Grant

PLOT DESCRIPTION: Down-and-out Atlanta writer Charlie Sherman has no idea what madness awaits him when a mysterious stranger convinces him to finish a dead man’s book about a horrific crime that’s gone unpunished for decades.

What Charlie inherits is an unwieldy manuscript about the mob-driven expulsion of more than 1,000 blacks from Forsyth County, Georgia in 1912. During the course of his work, Charlie uncovers a terrible secret involving a Forsyth County land grab. Due to its proximity to Atlanta, the stolen farm is now worth $20 million—and a sale is pending.

When he finds the land’s rightful owner, Charlie becomes convinced he’s been chosen by a Higher Power to wreak justice and vengeance on those who profit from evil.

And then things go horribly wrong.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: Forsyth County, bordering the black mecca of Atlanta (and famous as the birthplace of Hee-Haw’s Junior Samples), has existed as an intentionally all-white community for most of the past century following one of America’s most violent racist outrages—including lynching, nightriding, and arson—in 1912.

In 1987, the sleepy community gained international notoriety when a small march led by civil rights firebrand Hosea Williams was broken up by rock- and bottle-throwing Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and their sympathizers. Bloody but unbowed, Williams returned the next week with 25,000 followers in one of largest civil rights marches in history. There was talk of reparations. Oprah came to Forsyth and taped her show. Protests and counter-protests yielded a landmark Supreme Court case on free speech. But most importantly, white people flocked to Forsyth. It became the fastest- growing county in the nation, the richest one in Georgia, and one of the twenty wealthiest in the U.S.

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