Note: Brambleman, my novel about Forsyth County, Georgia, has been published as an eBook. Check it out.
Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Hosea Williams’s second Forsyth County March for Brotherhood. Last week, I posted a long piece that included a historical account of the civil rights protest.
Over the years, I’ve talked with participants in that march (there were somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 overall). The thing that stands out in their accounts was the hatred they faced from a small but extremely vocal (and sometimes violent) faction of counter-protestors—Ku Klux Klansmen, neo-Nazis, right-wing skinheads, and their Rebel-flag waving sympathizers.
One of the marchers, Sherri Carbone-Cruz, sent me her account last night:
I am originally from Atlanta, now living in Oakland, CA. At the time of the March, I was 26 years old and lived in Meriwether County. I rode up on a bus with a group of church members, including Rev. Wright, from Tennessee, and was the only white on the bus. I will never forget the banners of support and people cheering from the overpasses of the interstate. We had one scare going up, as apparently someone threw something at one of the buses ahead of us and the State Patrol initially thought it was a gunshot. The atmosphere on the bus was very tense after that, and one of the instructions Rev. Wright gave was for the men to keep the women in the middle of the line, and “you protect our ladies.”
Arriving there was almost a surreal experience. I will never forget some of the signs that some of the residents were holding up: “Niger (sic) go home!” Some of the more hateful ones were being held by small children. But the one I will always remember most is the local with duct tape over his mouth, holding a sign that said “Forsyth Resident Not Allowed to Speak Out Against Racism.” The march itself was quiet on our end, but you couldn’t miss the sound of the KKK chanting and ranting at the courthouse. There were a couple of people injured from being hit with objects thrown at us. And I will definitely never forget who brought up the rear—the Guardian Angels.