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Education Government - State News

Forsyth County yesterday and today as Gov. Kemp signs HB 1084 to silence discussions on race


HB 1084 was signed to allegedly protect children by restricting discussions of race from kindergarten through 12th grade, among other things. The drafters of this bill sought to keep ‘divisive concepts’ out of Georgia classrooms, which many see as trying to bury the truths of slavey. 

In 1987, racial tensions erupted in Forsyth County, Georgia when Atlanta civil rights activist Hosea Williams led a march there to mark the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.

Instead of balloons, welcome signs, and cheers, the marchers were met by a group of counter-protesters who welcomed them with jeers and small bottles and rocks they threw at will. The incident received nationwide attention and the following weekend, on Saturday, Jan. 24, 20,000-25,000 demonstrators descended on the town. At the time, this was considered one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in Georgia history. The back story is part of the unfortunate history of our state when it comes to race that saw Blacks attacked and killed. Those who survived were driven out of town and unable to live there for decades. 

Many may never learn the history of this race incident, the history of Blacks in Forsyth County, the stories of slavey in America and Georgia, or its impact on today’s society and Black people thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp last week. 

Hosea was attempting to change that narrative with his march, but his event and the subsequent march turned into a situation that left an indelible mark on Blacks and Whites and placed Forsyth County, Georgia in the national spotlight as a racist community. Many speculate about what Kemp is attempting to do by signing such a law, but they say it is an election year and he is looking to please his base. 

Many found it disturbing and distasteful that Kemp chose Forsyth County to rally his political base and sign into law a bill that will change how race is discussed within schools in Georgia. Many call the bill harmful and ill conceived, but Kemp sees it as keeping his base happy.  

Several people we spoke with said the bill is an attempt to protect little Susie or Billy and keep them from feeling bad about atrocities that occurred during slavery that may or maynot inclved someone related to then, but what about little Jazemine or Hakim and their right to know the history of Black people when it comes to slavery and the stories that surround this ugly history? Someone said that Kemp and Republican lawmakers are trying to sanitize history to the point where they erase any culpability that white people have when it comes to the way minorities are treated now and were treated in the past. Many agree with this thought.  


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