Originally created 07/27/06

Re-enactment of lynching forces many to remember



MONROE, Ga. - Re-enacting the horror of four people being ripped from their cars, dragged down a slope and shot in cold blood - all while they begged for their lives - reminds people that it happened, according to Tyrone Brooks, a state representative and president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials.

"I think America was taken back in time last year when they saw the news reports and articles about last year's re-enactment," Mr. Brooks said.

"They saw that and they said, 'This is horrible, this is heinous, but it happened.' In 2006, it is hard to imagine what it was like for black people in 1946."

The association held the second re-enactment Tuesday of the Moore's Ford lynching near the bridge that links Walton and Oconee counties over the Apalachee River.

The re-enactment told the story of Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey, who were killed by a white mob near Moore's Ford Bridge on July 25, 1946, days after Roger Malcom fought with a white man.

When the FBI originally investigated the incident, there were as many as 55 suspects, but no one was arrested or charged in connection with the killings.

Before the re-enactment, about 200 people rallied at the First African Baptist Church in Monroe, then traced the places and events that led to the couples' deaths.

About 16 white men from Atlanta came to play the part of the white mob at the bridge.

Event organizers said white Walton County men who volunteered for the re-enactment last year didn't show up; none volunteered this year.

The four black victims of the white mob were played by men and women from the Monroe area.

The re-enactment was meant to do more than just tell the story; it was meant to shock people into paying attention, said Southern Christian Leadership Conference President Charles Steele, who has participated in several re-enactments of the 1965 Civil Rights march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery.

"You have to fight every day to keep issues like this on people's conscience," Mr. Steele said. "This and other issues - but this issue is imperative at this time period because this town needs closure to begin to heal."

Last year's re-enactment brought more national media attention to the lynching than in the late 1940s, when newspaper reports prompted the FBI to investigate the case, said Bobby Howard, a Monroe civil rights leader.

Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to establish a division of the Department of Justice to investigate decades-old, unsolved race-related murders and the FBI has reopened its investigation into the case, Mr. Brooks said.

Exposing the lynching through television and articles, Mr. Howard added, increases the chance that people who know about the case, but live outside of Monroe, will step forward with information.

That's been the key to making arrests in other unsolved Civil Rights-era crimes, he said.