I remember hearing about the Moore's Ford lynching practically all my life. It's one of those things that every time my mother mentioned it, I listened but it never seem to have much impact on me until the past few years.
This year, after resurrecting my genealogical research, I kept coming across the Moore's Ford lynching whenever I googled Walton County, Georgia. The more I read the more I wanted to read. Then, it finally started to click - mom's story, Walton County. This happened where my ancestors were from.
My mom was 17 when the Moore's Ford lynching occurred. Mom was only 16 when she left her home in NC to head to GA to the big city of Atlanta to attend Morris Brown College. It was the first time she had left home.
Although NC was and could be brutal, especially the northern end of my home county of Cleveland, and while I'm sure lynchings probably occurred, mom has never talked of them if they did.
My grandparents left Georgia and Walton county behind in the early 1920s, about 20 years before the Moore's Ford lynching occurred. My mom was part of their North Carolina kids and the next to the youngest. While my granddad had told mom and later me about the lynch mobs, the hanging tree, etc. that defined Walton county during his life there, it still didn't prepare a young girl, my mom, from a small NC town for what occurred on July 25, 1946.
I don't know if my mother had returned home to NC for the summer when Moore's Ford occurred or if she remained in Georgia as she has never said. I think she must have been home because she has mentioned she almost didn't go back to Morris Brown.
If you've never heard of the Moore's Ford lynching, it's the lynching of two young black couples, Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey. The four victims were tied up to a tree and shot hundreds of times, in broad daylight, by a mob of unmasked men using rifles, shotguns, pistols and a machine gun. Dorothy Malcom was seven months pregnant at the time and her fetus was cut out of her body.
Shortly after the lynching occurred, my grandmother's sister, Effie, who lived in Walton County, wanted to see her niece, my mother, because she had never seen her. While my mother wanted to see her aunt she was also terrified to go. Mom's cousins, some of aunt Effie's children, that lived and worked in Atlanta drove mom over to Monroe. I don't know how my mother survived that trip. Me personally, I think I would have figured out a way to say no. Anyway, once they got to Walton county, Mom remembers seeing a white man with a shotgun standing by a covered truck and being terrified that it was the Klan and that they were all going to be killed. Thank goodness it wasn't.
No one has ever been brought to justice for the Moore's Ford lynching. Back then folks were too terrified to talk and they still are. And yes, I do believe it still effects my mother, too. As I've tried to plan our research trip, she thinks we should stay in Atlanta and drive over to Walton County and Greene County because she fears that the mentality of Jim Crow hasn't changed much in small Georgia towns since the days she was in college, meaning we aren't going to find a place of lodging that will accommodate us and I must admit that although I myself never lived through the Jim Crow era, I silently am concerned about some of the same things that my mother openly voices concerns about because as the old saying goes "The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same."
This week as we approach the 63rd anniversary of the Moore's Ford Lynching, hopefully we as humans and Americans have learned something from this. And to George Dorsey, Mae Murray Dorsey, Dorothy Dorsey Malcom and Roger Malcom, I pray that one day as improbable as it may be, that the truth about what happened to you on that fateful day be told.
Until Next Time!