Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

A Racial Cleansing in America

Book - 2016 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A gripping tale of racial cleansing in Forsyth County, Georgia and ... testament to the deep roots of racial violence in America ... Patrick Phillips breaks the century-long silence of his hometown and uncovers a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America in the twenty-first century"-- Provided by publisher.
"Forsyth County, Georgia, at the turn of the twentieth century was home to a large African American community that included ministers and teachers, farmers and field hands, tradesmen, servants, and children. Many black residents were poor sharecroppers, but others owned their own farms and the land on which they'd founded the county's thriving black churches. But then in September of 1912, three young black laborers were accused of raping and murdering a white girl. Soon bands of white 'night riders' launched a coordinated campaign of arson and terror, driving all 1,098 black citizens out of the county. In the wake of the expulsions, whites harvested the crops and took over the livestock of their former neighbors, and quietly laid claim to 'abandoned' land. The charred ruins of homes and churches disappeared into the weeds, until the people and places of black Forsyth were forgotten, as locals kept Forsyth 'all white' well into the 1990s. Blood at the Root is a sweeping American tale that spans the Cherokee removals of the 1830s, the hope and promise of Reconstruction, and the crushing injustice of Forsyth's racial cleansing. With bold storytelling and lyrical prose, Phillips breaks a century-long silence and uncovers a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America in the twenty-first century."--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780393293012
Branch Call Number: 305.8009 PHILLIP
Characteristics: xxii, 302 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Nonfiction, 2017

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Sep 19, 2017

I was blown away by this book. A MUST read for all. The author very carefully researched and referenced his book. He brought back a "ghost story" never documented and hidden into the light of truth and reflection. Truly amazing tale.

Feb 12, 2017

In 1912, an African-American is lynched by an angry mob and a short time later, two teen-agers are executed in public after a very questionable trial. These horrific events are only the beginning of the story that Patrick Phillips relates in “Blood at the Root.” What follows is a concerted effort by the mostly white residents of Forsyth County to drive out their black neighbours. Over the course of a few months, so-called “night-riders” engage in acts of terror and violence and more than 1000 flee, in most cases leaving their possessions behind, property that was soon absorbed into the holdings of the white residents who remained. Forsyth remained a “whites only” country until the final decades of the 20th century. It was a part of the United States to which the civil rights movement never came.
I had never heard of Forsyth County until I read this book, but Phillips’ narrative seemed eerily familiar nonetheless. Townspeople who demonized a minority; the suspension of the systems of justice; terrible deeds performed not by monsters but by ordinary men; the pride that the perpetrators showed in their violent acts (evidenced by their pictures taken with lynched victims); the manner in which the property of the victims enriched the perpetrator communities. And finally the denial of history, responsibility, and the need for reconciliation.
These are themes that repeat themselves throughout history. Patrick Phillips does readers a service by reminding us that history happens all around us, and not just far away and to other people.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 10, 2016

An important book that is difficult to read and difficult to imagine but the truth of it can still be seen daily. Heartbreaking and disgraceful. Also well written and easy flowing from an author with personal insight. Read it.

Oct 09, 2016

Every white person should read this book, especially those of us who say we are not racist. The horror and medieval mentality of the brutality exposed is nothing any of us has ever even had to imagine. If we are white, we are all blind, just as men are all blind to woman's experience. If we have never thought we have lifted a finger to hurt an African American in any way, we still need to read this book.

Walking the earth with white skin, or the male gender makes us blind, deaf, and insensate to the plight and inherent danger others face.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Sno-Isle Libraries

To Top