chapter  8
40 Pages

Atlanta in Turmoil: e White Elite Reacts to Murder

Before the autumn of 1906, Atlanta’s white press had probably been no more or less prejudiced than other southern papers. On September 2, for example, the Constitution printed a shabby set of cartoons accompanied by what passed for wit at the time: “Ho, all yer loan’ niggers/ Ter work yer mus’ bergin … . Yer niggers down in Darktown/ What on er jag hab been,/ Jes’ frow erway de licker – Jedge Briles am back ergin.” is drivel proclaimed the return from vacation of Judge Nash Broyles, head of the city’s Recorder’s Court. Broyles was known for his blunt, folksy handling of petty cases, especially concerning the slum Darktown. Of 14,045 complaints tried in the court in 1900 – if the court operated 340 days a year, it reviewed on average more than 41 cases in every session – 9,500 involved African Americans.1 Broyles’ docket and remarks to prisoners were a rich source of amusement for the press, though doubtless they were not funny to the people he ned or sentenced to jail.