On July 25, 1946, a group of armed men pulled
two black couples out of a farmer's car, tied them to trees and shot
them in three volleys of bullets so many times their bodies were barely
recognizable. President Harry Truman sent the FBI to the area to
investigate, but the agents were met with a wall of silence.
The events leading to the Moore's Ford
incident unfolded 11 days earlier when Roger Malcom (above) was placed
in jail for stabbing a white farmer, Barnette Hester. Witnesses told the
FBI that Malcom suspected Hester of having sex with his wife, Dorothy,
who was seven months pregnant. Malcom was drinking at the time he
stabbed Hester in the chest.
Dorothy Malcom and her brother, George Dorsey,
asked a farmer Loy Harrison, for whom Roger Malcom sometimes worked, to
bail him out of jail. At first, Harrison flatly refused to help.
Then Harrison, who was reportedly a member of
the Klu Klux Klan and a known bootlegger, suddenly changed his mind. He
picked up Dorothy Malcom, George Dorsey and his wife Mae Murray Dorsey
and took them to the Walton County jail.
He paid $600 to bail out Roger Malcom. He
later told authorities that he wanted them to work on his 1,000-acre
farm. It was rumored at the time that George Dorsey, a World War II
veteran, was secretly having an affair with a white woman.
Harrison then drove the two black couples
toward his farm across the Moore's Ford Bridge, a direction
investigators noted was not the most direct route to his farm. At the
bridge, Harrison's car was blocked by another vehicle and a group of men
-- described in various accounts as "at least a dozen" and "from 20 to
25" or "up to 30" armed men.
"A big man who was dressed in a
double-breasted brown suit was giving the orders. He pointed to Roger
and said, 'We want that ni**er.' Then he pointed to George Dorsey, my
ni**er, and said, 'We want you, too, Charlie.' I said, 'His name ain't
Charlie, he's George.' Someone said 'Keep your damned big mouth shut.
This ain't your party.'"
The men dragged the Malcoms and the Dorseys
from the car then beat and shot the two men. Realizing that the two
women could identify some of them, they then shot and killed the two
women, according to previous investigations.
One of the lynching mob pulled out a knife and cut the unborn child from Dorothy Malcom's body.
Harrison told investigators that he did not
recognize anyone in the group of men who stopped his car. For years, no
one in Walton County would talk with authorities about the case. When a
1946 grand jury failed to identify any suspects, the FBI pulled out of
the active investigation.
In 1991, more details of the crime came to
light when Clinton Adams, a white man who was a 10-year-old boy hiding
in the bushes near Moore's Ford during the lynching, told investigators
he was a secret witness to the events that unfolded on June 25, 1946.
His account is examined in Laura's Wexler's book, "Fire In A Canebreak."
No arrests have ever been made in this case. This case remains unsolved.