George W Dorsey

George W Dorsey

Death 25 Jul 1946 (aged 28)
Burial Apalachee, Morgan County, Georgia, USA
Memorial ID 27624574 · View Source
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In 1945, returning from the Pacific after four and half years in the Army, George W. Dorsey got off the bus in Monroe, east of Atlanta, and walked down a dirt road to his home.

Today, as other veterans of World War II were honored, Memorial Day services were held here to remember Mr. Dorsey, not just for what he did overseas but also for what happened to him when he returned.

After living quietly and working at a farm in nearby Walton County for 10 months, Mr. Dorsey, with his wife and two others, all black, were shot to death by a group of about 15 whites, in one of Georgia's most infamous, and still unsolved, incidents of racial brutality.

On July 25, 1946, Mr. Dorsey and his companions were dragged out of a car and shot more than 60 times because, people said at the time, one of them, a farm worker named Roger Malcolm, had stabbed the son of his white boss. Many people said the boss's son had been having an affair with Dorothy Dorsey, Mr. Malcolm's wife and Mr. Dorsey's sister.

Whatever the reason, many whites were outraged by the stabbing. Eleven days later, less than an hour after Roger Malcolm was released on bail from the county jail, Mr. Dorsey, 28, his wife, Mae, 23, Mr. Malcolm, 24, and Ms. Dorsey, 20, lay lifeless on the Georgia clay.

Today dozens of people commemorated the deaths. In a plain country church here in neighboring Morgan County, in north-central Georgia, about 60 people listened to an account of the killings and how Mr. Dorsey, who risked his life for his country, lost his life when he came home.

''Every generation has the duty and responsibility to take up the cross and advance the cause of human rights, human dignity and good human relations,'' Christopher C. Culbreath, a local city councilman, said from the pulpit today.

On the day he was killed, ''George W. Dorsey answered the call for his generation,'' Mr. Culbreath declared.

Sitting six rows back, Jessie Robinson said she could not help noticing how different the service was from the one given when Mr. Dorsey was buried. Mrs. Robinson, 86, was there that day, when no one dared to mention the cause of George Dorsey's death. It was too dangerous a subject, she said, so they said a prayer, put him in the ground and walked away silently.

After the speeches were given today, the crowd followed a bagpiper to the Mount Perry Missionary Baptist Church cemetery, where George and Dorothy Dorsey are buried. An American flag was folded by two sergeants from Fort McPherson, an Army base near Atlanta, and handed to Mr. Dorsey's nephew, Columbus Dorsey Jr. Surrounded by graves marked by small, wooden crosses, Columbus Dorsey shut his eyes as taps was played. His mother and brother, sitting beside him, stared straight ahead.

Back in 1946, the killings made national headlines and led to a six-month investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In the end, a Federal grand jury of 21 whites and 2 blacks listened to 100 witnesses and came up with no indictments.

The case then lay dormant for almost half a century. The site of the killings, a single-lane bridge over Moore's Ford, a section of the muddy Apalachee River, was eventually torn down and life went on for the residents of this small county, which is still mostly farmland and forest.

Then, in 1991, the case was reopened when a witness, Clinton Adams, came forward. Mr. Adams was 10 when he and a friend saw the four people being shot again and again in a barrage of bullets that, in Mr. Adams's words, left smoke and bubbles coming out of their bodies.

Mr. Adams, then a barefoot white boy in overalls, watched in horror from the edge of a nearby grove of pine trees.

He knew George Dorsey as the neighbor who came over to help chop wood and who had run two miles to telephone an ambulance when Mr. Adams's father died.

''When he was over there in the war, he was a soldier fighting,'' said Mr. Adams, 63, speaking last weekend from his home in Bonifay, Fla. ''But when he came back, he was just a nigger . Him being a veteran didn't enter anybody's mind. I know I'm not supposed to talk like that, but that's how it was then.''

And even though he wanted to help, Mr. Adams said he thought that talking would have cost him and his family their lives. Forty-five years later, after a lifetime of moving from one town to the other in fear of the Ku Klux Klan, which he believed was behind the killings, he told the F.B.I. his story. The case was reopened, but no arrests have been made.

After the killings came back to public attention, a memorial committee -- made up of blacks and whites and including civil rights advocates and the athletic director at the University of Georgia -- was formed. Since its inception in 1998 the group, the Moore's Ford Memorial Committee, has laid granite headstones at the victims' previously unmarked graves and led a march over the new bridge at the site of the killings. Today's service singled out George Dorsey as a veteran of war.

Holding his uncle's flag tightly, Columbus Dorsey Jr. said he doubted any arrests would ever be made.

''There might be a book wrote about it, but justice?'' he asked. ''No, justice will never be done.''

NY Times June 1, 1999
1946 Killing Of 4 Blacks Is Recalled

Dorothy and George are brother and sister.

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  • Created by: Donna
  • Added: 17 Jun 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 27624574
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George W Dorsey (Nov 1917–25 Jul 1946), Find A Grave Memorial no. 27624574, citing Mount Perry Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, Apalachee, Morgan County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Donna (contributor 46910450) .