A committee on Outrages was appointed, and from it’s report we gather the
following facts showing the actual condition of the State. Out of forty-five
counties, murders of colored men during the past year are reported in
seventeen counties, and we are informed these murders are very common.1

This passage was from a black convention held in Macon, Georgia, during the year
1870. That was the period directly following the north’s victory in the Civil War, and the
whites contempt for blacks was at an all time high. The southerners had already been
forced to bow down to the superior military of the north, but their already severely
damaged ego could not let the blacks, a race they had always dominated over, gain any
social footing. While the whites used unlawful and inhume tactics to keep white
supremacy alive in the south, the black people were not able to get any support to further
themselves. There was literally no chance to for the blacks to forcefully gain ground
against the whites, so the only way their situation could change was from white
sympathy. However, the media of the time, primarily the printed press, had no intention
of helping the blacks move up socially. Instead, the media in the south, and specifically
in Atlanta, used their power to suppress the blacks by printing suggestive books, articles,
and pictures justifying white supremacy; that media reached into the minds of the white
Atlanta residents and contributed to, directly and indirectly, the many injustices and
atrocities that occurred in that city.
During the period of the 1870’s through the 1890’s there was an overwhelming
majority of whites who truly believed they were superior to blacks, but not all of them
were filled with the anger and hate needed to implement some of the forceful tactics used
for intimidation. The reason behind this was the fact that before, and even during the
war, many slave owners had developed friendly relationships with some of their slaves.
Usually, these slaves were the most faithful ones who served the slaveowners family for
years and, more often than not, were treated better than the other slaves. This resulted in
some southerners having uneasy feelings about some of the more severe violence against
blacks. One Atlanta plantation owner displayed his friendship by writing about the
recent death of an ex-slave- “I am proud to record the fact that he was liked and
befriended by all his true southern white acquaintances, and his death lamented by all of
them.”2 Because these kinds of relationships were not uncommon between whites and
blacks, there was a need to establish a relentless contempt for the newly freed blacks if
the whites were to continue to control their home town. This is not to say that one
person, or a group of people, were specifically plotting ways in which to raise hatred for
blacks, rather it was more of an underlying natural occurrence that continued to develop
as more negative articles and books were printed. In any case, there was sense of a new,
and more intense, dehumanization of the black race.
One method of dehumanization that turned out to be rather effective during the post
Civil War period was “scientific evidence” that proved the black man was
physiologically inferior to the white man. Again, this is not to say that all of these
findings were part of a larger scheme to get white people to think less of blacks, but they
were certainly strongly suggesting that a white man should not consider a black man to
be an equal, and in some cases, not even a man. “To study the Negro past,” one
researcher wrote, “was not unlike an investigation into the natural history of a pig or
horse...”3 No matter how absurd these findings might seem at present time, books
containing these kinds of statements were rarely, if ever, questioned. A passage from a
book with this kind of information reads as follows:






The negro skull was extremely thick and is often used for butting, as is
the custom with rams. Flattened at the top, it was well suited for carrying
burdens. His clavicle was larger in proportion to the humerus and
therefore approached the structural organization of the ape. His scapula
was shorter and broader, his pelvis inclined like the anthropoid. The negro
brain was darker and it’s density and texture.....inferior.4
Literature describing the physical drawbacks of blacks also included their social
inferiorities as well. One book spoke of the