I was blown away by this book. A MUST read for all. The author very carefully researched and referenced his book. He brought back a "ghost story" never documented and hidden into the light of truth and reflection. Truly amazing tale.
In 1912, an African-American is lynched by an angry mob and a short time later, two teen-agers are executed in public after a very questionable trial. These horrific events are only the beginning of the story that Patrick Phillips relates in “Blood at the Root.” What follows is a concerted effort by the mostly white residents of Forsyth County to drive out their black neighbours. Over the course of a few months, so-called “night-riders” engage in acts of terror and violence and more than 1000 flee, in most cases leaving their possessions behind, property that was soon absorbed into the holdings of the white residents who remained. Forsyth remained a “whites only” country until the final decades of the 20th century. It was a part of the United States to which the civil rights movement never came.
I had never heard of Forsyth County until I read this book, but Phillips’ narrative seemed eerily familiar nonetheless. Townspeople who demonized a minority; the suspension of the systems of justice; terrible deeds performed not by monsters but by ordinary men; the pride that the perpetrators showed in their violent acts (evidenced by their pictures taken with lynched victims); the manner in which the property of the victims enriched the perpetrator communities. And finally the denial of history, responsibility, and the need for reconciliation.
These are themes that repeat themselves throughout history. Patrick Phillips does readers a service by reminding us that history happens all around us, and not just far away and to other people.
An important book that is difficult to read and difficult to imagine but the truth of it can still be seen daily. Heartbreaking and disgraceful. Also well written and easy flowing from an author with personal insight. Read it.
Every white person should read this book, especially those of us who say we are not racist. The horror and medieval mentality of the brutality exposed is nothing any of us has ever even had to imagine. If we are white, we are all blind, just as men are all blind to woman's experience. If we have never thought we have lifted a finger to hurt an African American in any way, we still need to read this book.
Walking the earth with white skin, or the male gender makes us blind, deaf, and insensate to the plight and inherent danger others face.
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