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In Their Own Words

December 30, 1870

Tensions over Blacks Voting Recorded in Journal

From Richmond County, Ella Gertrude Thomas recorded the tense situation as blacks exercised their franchise:

“Tuesday and Wednesday, the 20th and 21st of December, the election took place. All the Negroes in the neighborhood marched in procession to Augusta (or most of them) to vote for Daniel Horton for the legislature. He is a respectable, well-behaved, brown-skinned man but not exactly qualified to make laws for me or mine. When the Negroes reached Augusta, they were ordered to stack their arms outside of the city. The election proceeded quietly. As Turner and Jeff went in Thursday, they found a number of Negroes on the road in a great state of excitement, Daniel Horton among them. As he would pass by a house, he would leave word, “Tell my men to meet me at the bridge tonight,: Turner rode on and listened to them, as they would threaten what they intended doing. The night before, a party of young [white] men or boys had been down in this neighborhood and Thursday morning six of them took breakfast with Mr. Ben Neely. The Negroes said they were Ku Klux, that they object was to burn Daniel Horton’s house up and that was the reason for his summons to them to assemble at Butler’s Creek Bridge. ‘Color for color!’ was their rallying cry and, to do them justice, I do not think they are usually the first to commence a fight… .”

Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 219.