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In Their Own Words

December 21, 1867

Racial Contempt Shown in Diary

For a variety of reasons, many white Georgians viewed with contempt the convention meeting in Atlanta to draft a new state constitution. The election on revising the state constitution had been called by Reconstruction military commander Maj. Gen. Pope; many whites could not vote; and many of the delegates elected to the convention were not sympathetic to the Democratic Party or ante-bellum society. Particularly upsetting to some whites was the fact that blacks - including many former slaves - were allowed to participate, as evidenced by this entry in the journal of Atlanta merchant Samuel P. Richards:

“The Menagerie convention has been in operation - that is, showing - for two weeks now and except as a great show have accomplished nothing at all but to spend our money at the rate of $2000 per diem. It makes me feel wolfish every time I think about those niggers there pretending to make laws for Georgia white men. It is too great a burlesque on law and order.”

Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1969 reprint of 1954 original volume), p. 772.