The 1946 lynching of two Black sharecropper couples by a vicious White mob has haunted Georgia residents for nearly seven decades. Known as the “Lynching At Moore’s Ford Bridge,” the still-unsolved murder case of George and May Dorsey, and Roger and Dorothy Malcolm has been reopened.
On July 25, 1946, the Dorseys and the Malcolms were headed home after a day of working on a farm in rural Northern Georgia. Mr. Dorsey was a war veteran and was home just nine months after serving in the Pacific War. Mrs. Malcolm was seven months pregnant at the time. Mr. Malcolm was also Mr. Dorsey’s brother-in-law and had just out on bail after stabbing a fellow White farmer just 11 days prior to the lynching.
Reportedly, around 15 to 20 armed White men approached the couples at the bridge, although some rumors say that more than 200 people were involved.
The White lynch mob alleged that Mr. Dorsey was having an affair with a White woman in the town of Monroe, allegedly as the spark for the confrontation. As onlookers watched, the couples were tied to trees, and shot over 60 times. News of the lynching generated national outrage.
Some historians suggest that then-President Harry Truman created the Commission on Civil Rights and its anti-lynching aims as a result of what occurred at Moore’s Ford. The FBI investigated the murders but the townspeople were largely uncooperative.
Even the farm owner who bravely testified that the mob attacked his employees claimed he couldn’t remember the gunmen’s faces. The FBI interviewed over 3,000 people and issued 100 subpoenas in the six-month investigation but couldn’t produce enough evidence for a case.
In 2001, then-Governor Roy Barnes reopened the case with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. In 2006 and 2008, the FBI joined in the investigations and began collecting forensic evidence from farms in the area. However, those efforts yielded little to help solve the case. In 2013, the NAACP sought the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice.
For the past nine years, the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials (GABEO) has been reenacting the lynching at an annual community event. State Representative and GABEO President Tony Brooks has been vocal in his attempt to find justice for the couples. It’s believed some of the lynch mob may still be alive.
“In spite of many obstacles, turn-a rounds, and setbacks, we cannot stop this journey for justice, respect, and the enforcement of the law,” said Brooks in a recent statement. “The killings of our people cannot be overlooked. We must take action.”
Dr. Charles Steele, president and CEO of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), is planning to build a Moore’s Ford Bridge Museum.