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MSS 061 Moore's Ford Memorial Committee collection Edit

Summary

Identifier
MSS 061
Finding Aid Author
Mikaela LaFave
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of Description
English

Dates

  • 1992-2004, bulk 1997-2003 (Creation)

Extents

  • 0.42 Linear Feet (Whole)
    One box

Subjects

Notes

  • Abstract

    The collection pertains to the work of the Moore’s Ford Memorial Committee in the Athens-Clarke, Oconee, and Walton county region from 1997 to 2004 in response to renewed interest in the Moore’s Ford lynching which occurred in 1946. The collection contains meeting minutes and agendas from MFMC and information on activities undertaken by MFMC including annual scholarships, a memorial service for the victims of the Moore’s Ford lynching, and information pertaining to the Georgia Historical Society marker at the location of the lynching. The collection also contains news articles about the lynching and activities surrounding the reopened case from 1992 to 2003.

  • Physical Description

    Fair

  • Processing Information

    Processing done by Mikaela LaFave, July 2019.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    This collection has no restrictions. This collection is open to the public. Library policy on photography and photocopying will apply. Advance notice may be required. Apply in the Heritage Room for access.

  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Durham, LaRamon and Durham, Phyllis

  • Arrangement

    The Moore’s Ford Memorial Committee collection is arranged in a single series. The arrangement of folders is retained from the original creator of the collection. The collection is broken into folders that group meeting minutes, agendas, and other record related items, as well as folders that detail individual outreach that the MFMC conducts.

  • Historical note

    The Moore’s Ford Memorial Committee is a group of citizens from Oconee, Walton, and surrounding counties that formed a nonprofit organization to commemorate the lives of the four African Americans killed by a lynch mob at the Moore’s Ford Bridge in July 1946. Their work involves cemetery restoration, grave makers, historical markers, memorial services, student scholarships to surrounding counties, and advocating for a memorial museum.

    The Moore’s Ford lynching, also known as the 1946 Georgia lynching, occurred on July 25, 1946. A mob consisting of fifteen to twenty white men lynched and then shot four African Americans – World War II veteran George W. Dorsey and his pregnant wife Mae Murray Dorsey and their friends Roger and Dorothy Malcolm. Common lore states that the lynching took place on the Moore’s Ford Bridge in Walton and Oconee counties, bridging the cities Monroe and Watkinsville; in reality, the victims were shot and killed on the road in Walton County.

    The lynching attracted national attention and spurred President Harry S. Truman to create the President’s Committee on Civil Rights. During this time anti-lynching legislation was also introduced to Congress, but was not passed. The FBI conducted an investigation into the lynching in 1946 but was unable to garner sufficient evidence for the United States District Attorney to prosecute. The investigation lasted six months, and resulted in around 3,000 interviews and 100 subpoenas. However, there was little local support or cooperation in the investigation and no one confessed. The FBI was unable to uncover physical evidence in the case as well. A grand jury heard testimony in December 1946, but did not convict anyone of the crime. The case received further national interest when a witness, Clinton Adams, came forward in 1992 leading to an account in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and renewing interest in the case. In 2001 the case was reopened by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI joined the reopened case in 2006. The case was closed again in 2015 by the FBI and 2018 by the GBI due to insufficient evidence.

    The article in 1992 renewed local interest in commemorating the Dorseys and Malcolms. The Moore’s Ford Memorial Committee was founded in 1997 to work towards commemoration and racial reconciliation. The group succeeded in erecting tombstones on the previously unmarked graves, conducting a military memorial service for George Dorsey in 1999, and working with the Georgia Historical Society to erect a historical marker at the site of the lynching in 1999 on the 53rd anniversary of the lynching. The organization comprised local residents, as well as honorary members including Representative John Lewis (D-GA 5th District) and former President Bill Clinton.

  • Preferred Citation

    Moore’s Ford Memorial Committee collection, MSS 061, Heritage Room, The Athens-Clarke County Library.

  • Related Materials

    “Moore’s Ford,” Vertical File, Heritage Room, Athens-Clarke County Library. Camp, Lynn Robinson. Walton County Georgia. Arcadia Publishing: 2003. Call No: GR 975.8 Walton CAMP. Pitch, Anthony. The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town, Skyhorse Publishing: 2016. Call No: GR 364.134 PITCH / NONFIC 364.134 PITCH

  • Scope and Contents

    The collection documents the institutional history of the Moore’s Ford Memorial Committee primarily from 1997-2003. This includes meeting minutes and agendas and information on public outreach programs and fundraisers conducted by the group in the Athens-Clarke areas. Further information included is news articles relating to the Moore’s Ford lynching and updates on the reopened case as documented by the Committee.

    The bulk of this collection are meeting minutes, agendas, and newsletters spanning from 1997 to 2003, mostly mailed to LaRamon and Phyllis Durham who were involved with the organization. These agendas and minutes detail the work of the committee in the surrounding area and provide short snippets of information on events attended by the committee which are primarily art exhibits, museum exhibits, and talks on the topics of African American history and racial reconciliation.

  • Separated Materials

    Duplicate articles not already present in the Vertical File were deaccessioned from this collection and accessioned into the Vertical File (Moore’s Ford). Duplicate copies were deaccessioned from this collection.

  • Bibliography

    Lohrs, Kathy. “FBI Re-examines 1946 Lynching Case,” NPR All Things Considered. NPR, July 25 2006. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5579862 “Moore’s Ford Lynching,” Georgia Historical Society. June 16, 2014. https://georgiahistory.com/ghmi_marker_updated/moores-ford-lynching/ Pitch, Anthony. The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town, Skyhorse Publishing: 2016.

External Documents

Instances

  • Type
    Text
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    1
    Container 2 Type
    Folder
    Container 2 Indicator
    1-12

Components