Copy the below HTML to embed this viewer into your website.
- WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection
- GOVERNOR MADDOX AND RICHMOND COUNTY COMMISSIONER COMMENT ON AUGUSTA RIOT; DAMAGES IN AUGUSTA
- WSB-TV (Television station : Atlanta, Ga.)
- Date of Original:
Richmond County (Ga.)
Richmond County (Ga.)--Officials and employees
- Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003
- United States, Georgia, Richmond County, Augusta, 33.47097, -81.97484
- On Saturday, May 9, 1970, Charles Oatman, a sixteen-year-old African American, died in the Richmond County jail. Although his death was initially blamed on a fall from his cell bunk, the coroner and Oatman's father found signs of torture when they examined the body. The African American community in Augusta had repeatedly endured police brutality, wrongful arrest, and mistreatment in the county and city jails. Oatman's death outraged the community; that anger grew when instead of pursuing an investigation, Sheriff E.R. Atkins charged two of Oatman's cellmates, also black teenagers, in his death. On Monday, May 11, 1970, several local African American leaders marched to the Municipal Building and met with county officials. When Sheriff Atkins announced his charges, the large crowd of African Americans who waited outside during the meeting became angry. They tore down the Georgia flag, which at the time incorporated the Confederate battle flag, and burned it. The crowd moved downtown and the violence escalated from overturning garbage cans to throwing rocks at passing cars to pulling people out of cars and beating them. That afternoon and evening, more than fifty fires were set in businesses owned by white and Chinese merchants in the African American district. At about one o'clock in the morning Governor Maddox sent Georgia National Guardsmen and state highway patrolmen to Augusta. During the rioting that night, six African American men were shot in the back by policemen. Although there were claims of snipers during the rioting, no policemen, National Guardsmen, or patrolmen were shot by African Americans during the rioting. The next day, Augusta mayor Millard Beckum instituted a 9 pm to 5 am curfew that remained in place the rest of the week as guardsmen continued to patrol the street. There were fewer incidents. Elsewhere in the country, students and demonstrators had been shot and killed at Kent State in Ohio a week earlier and in Jackson, Mississippi three days later.
Title supplied by cataloger.
- Metadata URL:
- Digital Object URL:
- IIIF manifest:
- 1 clip (about 2 min.): color, sound ; 16 mm.
- Original Collection:
- Original found in the WSB-TV newsfilm collection.
- Contributing Institution:
- Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection