Wednesday, 20 November 2013


 BLACK            SOCIAL            HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The Lynchings at Moore's Ford

Mass Lynching Remains Unsolved

Moores Ford Poster

On July 25, 1946, a group of armed men pulled two black couples out of a farmer's car, tied them to trees and shot them in three volleys of bullets so many times their bodies were barely recognizable. President Harry Truman sent the FBI to the area to investigate, but the agents were met with a wall of silence.

The Stabbing of Barnette Hester

The events leading to the Moore's Ford incident unfolded 11 days earlier when Roger Malcom was placed in jail for stabbing a white farmer, Barnette Hester. Witnesses told the FBI that Malcom suspected Hester of having sex with his wife, Dorothy, who was seven months pregnant. Malcom was drinking at the time he stabbed Hester in the chest.
Dorothy Malcom and her brother, George Dorsey, asked a farmer Loy Harrison, for whom Roger Malcom sometimes worked, to bail him out of jail. At first, Harrison flatly refused to help.

Malcom Bailed Out of Jail

Then Harrison, who was reportedly a member of the Klu Klux Klan and a known bootlegger, suddenly changed his mind. He picked up Dorothy Malcom, George Dorsey and his wife Mae Murray Dorsey and took them to the Walton County jail.
He paid $600 to bail out Roger Malcom. He later told authorities that he wanted them to work on his 1,000-acre farm. It was rumored at the time that George Dorsey, a World War II veteran, was secretly having an affair with a white woman.
Harrison then drove the two black couples toward his farm across the Moore's Ford Bridge, a direction investigators noted was not the most direct route to his farm. At the bridge, Harrison's car was blocked by another vehicle and a group of men -- described in various accounts as "at least a dozen" and "from 20 to 25" or "up to 30" armed men.

No One Would Talk

The men dragged the Malcoms and the Dorseys from the car then beat and shot the two men. Realizing that the two women could identify some of them, they then shot and killed the two women, according to previous investigations.
One of the lynching mob pulled out a knife and cut the unborn child from Dorothy Malcom's body.
Harrison told investigators that he did not recognize anyone in the group of men who stopped his car. For years, no one in Walton County would talk with authorities about the case. When a 1946 grand jury failed to identify any suspects, the FBI pulled out of the active investigation.
In 1991, more details of the crime came to light when Clinton Adams, a white man who was a 10-year-old boy hiding in the bushes near Moore's Ford during the lynching, told investigators he was a secret witness to the events that unfolded on June 25, 1946. His account is examined in Laura's Wexler's book, Fire In A Canebreak.

An Offer of Immunity?

The FBI developed a list of 55 possible suspects during their 1946 investigation, including Barnette Hester's brother George Hester, but no one has ever been arrested or charged in the crime. As of 2001, when former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes reopened the case, some of those 55 suspects were still alive.
The FBI investigation even touched on the possible involvement of then Georgia Gov. Eugene Talmadge, who was in a hotly-contested race for his fourth term at the time. The FBI agent in charge of the investigation told FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that Talmadge met with George Hester a day after his brother's stabbing and offered immunity to anyone "taking care" of Roger Malcom.
The statement was overheard by a local police officer, assistant police chief Ed Williamson, on the courthouse steps of the Walton County Courthouse in Monroe, Georgia, according to records uncovered by The Associated Press in a Freedom of Information request for all the FBI files associated with the case.
The lynchings at Moore's Ford took place eight days after Talmadge was re-elected, but the mention of Talmadge's possible involvement never made it into the official FBI report. Talmadge's family denies his involvement