Georgia prosecutor’s Trump case rooted in struggle against segregation: author
Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Georgia had Jim Crow laws that Democratic then-Gov. Lester Maddox — an unapologetic segregationist — vigorously defended. In 2023, Georgia has a Black district attorney, Atlanta resident Fani Willis, who is aggressively prosecuting a former president, Donald Trump, and 18 of his allies on criminal charges.
In a think piece published by Salon on September 4, author Christopher Sellers delves into Georgia's painful racial history and argues that Willis' case against Trump is more than a criminal prosecution — it is also about civil rights.
Sellers notes that Atlanta has "turned into" a "pivotal locus for our nation's recent political dramas."
"The current prominence of an Atlanta-area prosecutor and courtroom owes much more to this city's larger and longer legacies," Seller explains. "Since Reconstruction a century and a half ago, radically different versions of electoral democracy have battled one another in this capital city of a Deep South state. Each has gained dominion over the city for a portion of its last 150 years, providing starkly opposing precedents for the confrontations that may soon be beamed from an Atlanta courthouse into America's living rooms."
Sellers draws parallels between Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia and the intimidation of Black voters after the Civil War.
"The Trump team's intimidation and threats in the weeks after the 2020 election distinctly echoed the violent end that white southerners brought to Atlanta's Reconstruction starting in the late 1860s," Sellers writes. "When the federal government widened the electorate to include recently emancipated Georgians, southern whites turned to vigilante violence, terrorizing Black people away from the ballot box. In Columbus, Georgia, in 1868, some went so far as to assassinate a white Republican politician named George Ashburn whose advocacy for the Black vote qualified him as 'radical.'"
Read Christopher Sellers' full article for Salon at this link.
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