Historical Markers About Notable Black Georgians Shot, VandalizedBreaking News
tags: racism, African American history, Georgia, White Supremacy
Historical markers dedicated to Black Georgians have come under fire, culminating last week in the shooting of a marker for baseball legend Jackie Robinson in his hometown of Cairo, Georgia.
It was one in a series of incidents, including the desecration of a marker about the brutal lynching of a pregnant Black woman in 1918, and this recent increase of vandalism has historians — and descendants of lynching victims — concerned.
The signs are part of the Georgia Historical Society’s Civil Rights Trail series: 44 markers recognizing significant people, events and places that shaped the state.
Typically, such markers, while informative, might seem like a benign presence on the landscape. But given the volatile racial climate and political rhetoric of the past few years, some people worry the incidents involving the Black history markers — though a relative handful — signal entrenchment of racial intolerance and denial of history, observers said. They also say it’s particularly concerning that guns were used to damage the markers.
“It’s hard to imagine that it’s just a coincidence,” said Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “It’s either these markers have struck a nerve with people [in a way] that contradicts something that they’ve been taught in the past, or something’s happening in society that has triggered this kind of violent reaction.”