A push to change the name of 1906 Atlanta race riot to massacre

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:30 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Thursday marks 116 years since violent killings swept across Atlanta leaving dozens of Black residents dead.

Now there’s a push at the local and national level to have it properly recorded in the history books.

For decades the killing of Black Atlanta residents in 1906 has been referred to as a race riot.

“That word riot does not totally and accurately describe what occurred in 1906,” said scholar and activist, Dr. Clarissa Myrick-Harris.

She said 1906 was an election year with two gubernatorial candidates pushing false headlines about Black men assaulting white women.

“To destroy Black property and kill Black people, so the rampage lasted over a course of four days and in the process we have documented that 25 African Americans were killed.”

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, along with other coalition partners, have launched an online petition to change the name from Atlanta Race Riot to Atlanta Race Massacre when referenced online, in the media, and in the educational curriculum.

“Unfortunately if we don’t acknowledge it and understand the causes of it, it will be a part of our future,” said Dr. Myrick-Harris.

On Wednesday, Atlanta Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) introduced a resolution commemorating the 1906 Atlanta Massacre.

In a release from her office, Rep. Williams said in part:

“My resolution is also a step toward healing for the Black communities that were terrorized by the mob of white supremacists. Atlanta has the widest racial wealth gap in the country and one of the contributing factors is that Black families that were thriving fled the city after the massacre. As we atone and move forward, we must commemorate the truth of our past so that history does not repeat itself.”

On Thursday at 7 p.m., there’s a screening of a documentary and panel discussion on the 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Click here for more information.