ATLANTA—As a 20-year-old civil rights activist in 1968, Tyrone Brooks drove 40 miles from Atlanta to Walton County to meet Dan Young, who ran the county’s only black funeral home.
“Young man, I want to show you something,” Brooks remembers Young telling him.
In the basement of the funeral home, Young opened an old file cabinet and pulled out a manila folder containing photographs of bodies—the victims, Young told Brooks, of the last open public mass lynching in the United States.
“That really got my attention,” said Brooks, who is now a representative in the Georgia House.
Nearly 40 years later, those disturbing photos still have Brooks’ attention.
On Monday, the 59th anniversary of the lynchings that took place on July 25, 1946, he and other civil rights activists hope to stage a re-enactment of the violent act in hopes of gaining support for the arrest and prosecution of anyone still alive who may have been involved or responsible.
Just one month ago, 1,000 members of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials unanimously passed a resolution urging prosecutors to bring charges for the first time in the unsolved lynchings.
The photos were of Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey, four young black sharecroppers who were gunned down on July 25, 1946, along the Apalachee River.
The re-enactment will start on what is believed to be Barney Hester’s property, where Roger Malcom had been arrested not long before the lynching. A fight between the two men hospitalized Hester, who was white, and landed Malcom in jail.