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This Day in Georgia History

September 19, 1868

Camilla Massacre

Philip Joiner, a black representative expelled from the Georgia General Assembly and other local Republican leaders in Albany led a 30-mile march of several hundred African Americans and a few whites to Camilla to attend a Republican political rally. However, some white Mitchell County residents were determined that the rally would not occur. As the marchers entered the courthouse square in Camilla, whites opened fire, killing at least thirteen of the marchers and wounding nearly forty. News of the Camilla Massacre flashed over telegraph wires and was reported in newspapers across the nation. Both Republicans and Democrats used the massacre to fortify their positions on Reconstruction in the 1868 presidential campaign. [For more information, see the Digital Library of Georgia’s page on the Civil Unrest in Camilla.]