New documentary commemorates Atlanta race riot on 116th anniversary

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 11:38 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A new documentary commemorating the 1906 Atlanta race riot premiered Thursday night on the 116th anniversary of the tragedy.

People gathered at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta to watch the film.

“I thought the documentary was an amazing way to shed light not only on how these past instances have occurred, but also how these same persisting issues whether it’s legal, economic, socioeconomic, all of those issues all coincide into today’s society,” England Meadows said.

The race riot began on September 22, 1906 when a white supremacist mob began targeting black homes and black families across Atlanta.

The riot lasted three days and an estimated 25 to 100 people were killed.

Atlanta native Adria Kitchens says she did not learn about the riot until later in life. Now she wants to help educate others.

“The story is not widely known,” Kitchens said. “I grew up in Atlanta and when I was in social studies I did not learn this story. It is now part of the curriculum and I think most adults don’t know the story. And I think a part of what we wanted to do is share that story.”

The documentary casts a spotlight on an important moment in Atlanta history. Kitchens and others say it’s a story that needs to be amplified.

“These issues need to be addressed. We need to look back on our history. To not only change the present, but you know going into the future as well,” Meadows said.

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.

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