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4-5-05 Moores Ford Case- Facts and Myths

The Moores Ford killings were horrible and should have been prosecuted.  I also believe racism was involved.  However, after reading the book and other information and talking to some familiar with the history of the case and the more recent investigation and book research, I believe there were few folks involved (why secrecy has prevailed) and other more local and selfish issues  were involved.



April 3, 2005


Moores Ford Case- Facts and Myths


By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.


There were some horrible and cruel murders committed at Moores Ford in 1946.  There were some mean and cruel folks involved.


That being said, I also believe some of the publicity today is based on myth and gossip from the early childhood of some people.  I have my own memories as set out in several related AVOC articles.  I do not believe 20 men, much less 50, were involved.   A recent book, Fire in a Canebrake, is one of the best researched articles on the stories, rumors and myths that have survived for decades.



The book presents facts that cast much doubt on what Clinton Adams claimed about being a 10 year old witness to the killings.   At the time, he came forward, his fellow witness, Emerson Farmer, was deceased.  Also, Mr. Adams did not know that Farmer had testified before a Federal Grand Jury and that his statements are in the FBI files which were researched for the book.  Farmer and his father were at their home and saw a couple of cars, not a caravan, go by on the way down to the bridge.  The book is highly recommended for those who want a better understanding of this event.


What does disturb me is the attempt by some (who may be well-intentioned) to degrade all natives and residents of Walton, Oconee County and the State of Georgia.  Some comments indict all whites.  It is absolutely not true that all whites were involved or condoned what happened.  These type statements and attitudes limit the effectiveness of this “modern day” group who may be well-meaning but seem to be acting on at least some false assumptions and generalities.


Georgia had more enlightened leaders in the era of Civil Rights struggles of the 60’s than some Southern States.  AVOC articles have described  how  Governor Carl Sanders responded to the Lemuel Penn slaying that originated in Athens in 1964.


The bombings and killings that occurred in the 60’s were directly involved in the Civil Rights struggles of the times.  That was 15 to 20 years after Moores Ford.   There is more than a 25 year time gap in those prosecutions that strains credibility on whether any of the participants are now alive.  Such a length of time severely restricts or limits evidence and witness testimony.  


The Moores Ford killings were horrible and should have been prosecuted.  I also believe racism was involved.  However, after reading the book and other information and talking to some familiar with the history of the case and the more recent investigation and book research, I believe there were few folks involved (why secrecy has prevailed) and other more local and selfish issues  were involved.








7-13-04 Lemuel Penn Murdered Near Athens in 1964: PART 1


1-14-05 Madison & Clarke Counties Need Memorials for Lemuel Penn


3-3-05 Moore’s Ford Lynching Now A Media Event

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution



April 3, 2005


'Cruelness' in 1946


Activists push to get Walton lynchings prosecuted

Alcovy Circuit District Attorney Ken Wynne said last week he is not taking the case to the grand jury because investigators have not obtained enough evidence in the four years since the GBI investigation was reopened.

"In fact," he said, "if I did present it [to the grand jury], it would be an ethical breach if I knew there was insufficient evidence."

GBI officials said they last discussed the case with Wynne in March and still hope to find people who know the entire story.

"We absolutely believe that there are citizens currently residing in the Walton and Oconee counties that know what happened at Moore's Ford Bridge on July 25, 1946," said the GBI's Fred Stephen.

There were more than 50 men in the lynch mob. Brooks said the surviving men who allegedly killed Roger Malcom, 24; Dorothy Malcom, 20; George Dorsey, 28; and Mae Dorsey, 24, should be brought to justice so the healing can begin.

"I believe there is enough evidence already to take this case to the grand jury," Brooks told the group of about 75 who gathered for a pre-march rally at the First African Baptist Church in Monroe.   …….

.. Ruth Stewart's brother, Clinton Adams, is the only known witness to the lynching who is still alive. He kept publicly silent about what he saw for 46 years, then went to the FBI.

In a 1992 Atlanta Journal-Constitution story, Adams said that, as a 10-year-old boy, he told a deputy sheriff what he saw and was warned if he spoke again his family could be killed.

Adams' daughter, Cindy Adams, told the gathering at the church that she has helped publish a book about what her father witnessed, "The Secret Inside," in part to recant another book about the lynching, "Fire In a Canebrake: the Last Mass Lynching in America," that discredits her father's story.

"If people are going to read that book, then they should read mine," she said.

Her father lives in Florida and is afraid to return to Walton County, she said.

"My daddy is telling the truth," said Adams. "That truth has almost ruined his life. He moved and moved and moved because of the KKK. He was afraid they were going to kill him." ……..

The Athens Banner-Herald  http://onlineathens.com/stories/040305/new_20050403082.shtml

April 3, 2005

Marchers on road to bridge history, justice
Moore's Ford lynching: Group pressing for new look at case

By Blake Aued

MONROE - A diverse group of Georgians - from an elderly black Greene County man who saw Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak, to a young white woman who became interested in civil rights through South African apartheid - marched Saturday to the Walton County site of a 1946 lynching to urge officials to find the killers and bring them to trial.

…..Joel Hunter's involvement with Moore's Ford, named for the stream where the lynching took place, began when he was a 10-year-old boy staying with family in Elberton.

When his mother in Connecticut heard that a white mob beat and shot four black people in nearby Walton County, she came to get him, Hunter said during a two-and-a-half-mile march from a memorial sign on U.S. Highway 78 to the site of the lynching, a creek on the Oconee-Walton county line……

…………Georgia lags behind fellow Deep South states Alabama and Mississippi when it comes to examining painful aspects of the past, said Theophus Smith, an Emory University religion professor.

"We have a myth of Atlanta being the civil rights center of the South," Smith said……

The Athens Banner-Herald  http://onlineathens.com/stories/040305/new_20050403083.shtml

April 3, 2005

The question at forum: Who, after 59 years, will step forward?

By Lee Shearer

MONROE - A young Baptist minister and a retired FBI agent asked the same question at a forum on the 1946 Moore's Ford lynching in Walton County.

Where are the people of courage, the true patriots, who believe in American values like justice, who might finally step forward and get the truth out about what happened when four young black people were murdered near the Moore's Ford Bridge 59 years ago?

A blanket of fear still shields the murderers, said Howard, a lifelong Walton resident who's been pushing for a prosecution in the case for 37 years and believes that some who participated in the lynching still are alive.

At one time it was a fear of intimidation. Witnesses who testified before a grand jury investigating the crimes in the 1940s were beaten.

But any Klan members from back then are walking around with oxygen tanks today, and not capable of much violence, Fleming said……