Slavery Revisionist History Where The Masters Chained, Whipped, and Sold Slaves – Par for the Course
Augusta, Georgia government officials falsify 1996 historical marker during the cover and blur of the Augusta-Richmond County Consolidation debate
Slaves Were Chained and Whipped on Market Pillars in Augusta, Georgia – Sadly Not a Unique Market in Southern Confederacy – Where Merchants Banked on Slavery Using the River and Rails
By Greg Peterson and the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, co-owners and news directors of South Eastern Social Justice Breaking News
(Augusta, GA) – A slave whipping pole from Augusta’s historic and infamous slave market stands tall on a main street in this southern town and is the latest example of revisionist history by the white power structure that is hosting the “Masters” golf tournament this week.
The official state of Georgia 1996 historical marker for the pillar was falsified and claims in the title its is “haunted” and the official marker purports the pole was hit by a “freakish cyclone.”
The Georgia Historical Marker scandal is only one of numerous recent reminders of the evil decades of Jim Crow in the Southeast including last week’s murder of an unarmed black man from North Charleston, S.C. man who was shot repeatedly in the back by a white police officer – and an Augusta native was recently beaten severely at a Georgia State Prison in Macon.
Most importantly, the marker doesn’t mention it was used for decades to chain, beat, buy and sell slaves in the heart of Augusta.
Rather, the official state marker has led to an online cottage market of false legends, ghosts and voodoo, while the plaque refers to the pillar as the important remains of an Augusta Farmer’s Market actually named the ‘Augusta Slave Market,’ according to a three-year investigation by South Eastern Social Justice Breaking News.
The falsified Georgia historical marker brings into questions how many of Georgia’s “historical” markers are inaccurate.
The slave whipping pillar is no secret to African-Americans in Augusta, who are still living in the midst of apartheid-like government thinking.
Examples include that Augusta is the elitist golf town where a mayor’s “blue ribbon” panel on race relations has languished for 15 years as members can’t agree on anything and where the official Augusta-Richmond County Human Relations Commission was eliminated by elected officials while in the middle of numerous racism investigations.
Augusta was as handy slave port as Africans were easily shipped up and down the nearby Savannah River by white men who loved to using their whips and chains.
Sadly, the state historic marker at the pillar stands as a perfect example of revisionist history denying slavery continues to the perpetrated by the white power structure in the state of Georgia and Augusta.
Pictured on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at the Historic Broad Street Slave Market Pillar in Augusta, GA are social justice activists Arthur Smith, Jr. (left), a resident of the Hyde Park neighborhood in south Augusta (infamous for an industrial environmental racism scandal that killed countless blacks) – and the Rev. Zack Lyde (right) of Brunswick, Georgia, who has actively battled many forms of racism in Georgia and the South East. (Photo by Rev. Terence A. Dicks of Augusta)
.Even the group that placed the marker admits on its website that the pillar is from “an old slave market” in Augusta – yet that information was left out of the official marker.
That group is the Revered Pierre Robert Chapter of the National Society Colonial Dames XVII century.
So why was this accurate and vital information left off the pillar historic sign placed in Augusta in 1996?
The Georgia chapter of the society lists the “slave market” pillar as one of its “Historic Sites Marked by or Affiliated with the Georgia State Society”
In 1996, closet Republican Zell Miller was the Georgia Governor – and legendary local BBQ king Larry Sconyers was the first mayor of the old – and newer larger Augusta – that had just taken over Richmond County through a controversial “consolidation” of government campaign – making it the second largest Georgia city.
Miller was a Democrat, turned Republican, and even a Fox News Channel contributor.
Southern blacks are used to the rewriting of history especially when it comes to slavery and related atrocities and evil groups like the Klan.
Even the state of Georgia’s Historic Marker leaves out the infamous slave trading – and the right-wing Augusta newspaper is part of those institutions who – to put is generously – have publicly forgotten the infamous pillar’s roots.
Many websites downplay the infamous slave pillar on Augusta’s Broad Street with dozens of those sites claiming it is haunted – but African-Americans known it is the remnant of a market where slaves were bought and sold.
Augusta’s biggest and most powerful group of bankers – the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company – owned at least 162 slaves, one study showed.
Slavery officially ended in the U.S. in 1865 – but was known to have flourished much, much longer in the south. Some say the pillar was moved after being hit by a freak twister and is the remains of the original farmer’s market on Center (Centre) Street.
The monument’s history is noted on an official state of Georgia Historical Marker that says nothing about slaves but states the pillar was part of a market used for “agricultural and livestock trade.”
In fact, just under 30 years after the official end of slavery – the rebuilt market closed in 1891 because – the official state historic marker states – it was “no longer proved useful.”
Once slaves were no longer sold in Augusta, and their forced labor dwindled the – “agricultural and livestock trade” ended.
The pillar is described as being anywhere from 8 to 10 feet tall – and some stories claim its cursed by Voodoo because of it is one of many sites used as slave “whipping posts.”
One website states: “Most seem to believe that the ghosts of the dead slaves will haunt you if you touch the pillar, and that the pillar can never be removed or destroyed.”
Internet stories about the pillar vary as widely as the efforts to pretend it had nothing to do with slavery.
The historic marker states the pillar was moved by Augustans to Broad Street after it was the only thing left standing following the aftermath of “a freakish cyclone” in Feb. 1878 that destroyed the much storied (slave) market.
Other websites claim the pillar was rebuilt by business owner after being destroyed in 1935 in an automobile accident and moved a year later was to its current location at the corner of 5th and Broad street, where it stands today as a symbol of slavery denied.
Websites claim the pillar was “quickly re-erected” after being knocked over by a bale of cotton that fell from a passing truck on a Friday the 13th in 1958.
The official Georgia Historic Marker – in a historically questionable account – states:
“According to local tradition, a wandering ‘exhorter’ predicted that anyone who pulled down the pillar would be struck dead by lightning.”
One website that lists Georgia’s historical markers states:
The “Haunted” Pillar of the Lower Market by the National Society of Colonial Dames (NSCD) on the median at 5th and Broad Streets, Augusta.
A real estate blog posting calls the slavery angle “claims’ and gives it own story downplaying the historic Augusta slave trade:
“The most commonly heard tale is that a traveling preacher, angry at being prevented from giving a sermon at the market, cursed the building, “A great wind will destroy this place except for one pillar… and whomever tries to remove this remaining pillar will be struck dead!”
South Eastern Social Justice Breaking News will continue our investigation into falsified historical markers in Georgia and surrounding states – Watch for several updates today and over next few weeks.
Editor’s Note About Authors:
Greg Peterson is a former Augusta TV/radio reporter and for 10 years the East Georgia correspondent for Atlanta Journal Constitution – and now owns two news services in extreme northern Michigan along Lake Superior and most recently served as news director of a local TV station (ABC 10/CW 5 WBUP/WBKP).
Peterson won the best 2015 “news special” excellence award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for a two-part look at the disappearance of the Upper Peninsula Deer Herd due to state mismanagement and severe winters.
Rev. Terence Dicks is a well-known progressive and longtime Augusta social justice and human rights activist.
Greg Peterson is owner/news director of Upper Peninsula Breaking News with Greg Peterson near Lake Superior and South Eastern Social Justice Breaking News along with the Rev. Terence A. Dicks
Rev. Terence A. Dicks has a long history of fighting for social justice in Augusta and is the founder of a project titled “Claiming A Street Named King” – that aims to improve neighborhoods and businesses along routes named for late civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dicks is the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Southern Regional Organizer and PDA State of Georgia Coordinator and a Democratic Party of Georgia State Committee member via the Richmond County Democratic Party.
Rev. Dicks was recently sworn in for a second term as a member of the Augusta-Richmond County Board of Elections representing the Richmond County Democratic Party.
Dicks was sworn in by Richmond County Probate Judge Harry B. James, III – the judge is a fellow NAACP official known for fighting for civil rights and served as president of the Augusta chapter of the NAACP.
Rev. Dicks accomplishments include serving as the second vice-president of the Augusta chapter of the NAACP (1994-1996). Rev. Dicks has also served two terms as chair and two terms as vice chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission (1998-2009).