You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

breaking news

Student arrested after bomb threat on North Hall Middle campus

‘What was in our hearts?’ Georgia pastors apologize for past lynchings

LaGrange —White church leaders in this west Georgia community apologized on Saturday for the religious community’s failure to speak out about the lynching of Austin Callaway and other acts of racial terror during the decades of Jim Crow.

They spoke at the dedication of a historical marker acknowledging several lynchings in the area. Their apology comes nearly two months after the white police chief in LaGrange, Lou Dekmar, apologized for his agency’s role in Callaway’s murder in 1940.

The service Saturday at Warren Temple United Methodist Church, an African American church, included apologies directly to members of Callaway’s family and other descendants of lynching victims who were in attendance. It was a powerful expression of remorse and contrition for the failings of past church leaders and their congregations.

Callaway was taken from the city jail by a group of masked white men and shot in a rural area of Troup County. The police department failed to protect him at the jail and never investigated the crime.

Rev. Cade Farris of First Baptist Church, a prominent white church in downtown LaGrange, apologized directly to Callaway’s family on behalf of those who knew what was happening in society seven decades ago but said nothing. He also acknowledged others who carried out acts of terror in the community had ties to white churches.

“I want to apologize on behalf of those that filtered into churches in Troup County on Sunday hearing God’s word and during the week committing hatred, terror — God have mercy,” he said.

As he prepared for the service Saturday, Senior Pastor Greg Brown of Western Heights Baptist Church last week visited the grave of Henry Gilbert, another lynching victim memorialized on the lynching marker. Gilbert was a successful black farmer in Troup County and father who was shot fives times while in custody in a nearby jail.

His family members travelled from as far away as Chicago and Detroit to attend the service and participate in the dedication of the marker that includes his name.

“We look into the grave and we ask: What kind of people were we? What was in our hearts?” said Brown.

Deborah Tatum, a family member of Callaway, said these stories will now be known and shared with future generations. She grew up in LaGrange and did not learn of her relative’s killing until the past couple years. Saturday’s event was part of a racial reconciliation effort in Troup County.

“We’re going to speak their names today and from this day forward we’re going to tell the stories to our families,” she said.

Go to to read about the Callaway lynching and how one family’s effort to save him was kept secret for 76 years.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Crowd expected for ‘historic’ DeKalb charity flea market
Crowd expected for ‘historic’ DeKalb charity flea market

The United Methodist Children’s Home is hosting its popular UMCH Flea Market on April 7 and 8.  Established in 1940, the flea market will be open to the public at 500 S. Columbia Drive in Decatur. The hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The home, which serves people in need in Decatur and across Georgia, hosts the large...
Over 10,000 consumers eligible for payday lender settlement refunds
Over 10,000 consumers eligible for payday lender settlement refunds

Georgia consumers who are eligible for refunds from a South Dakota-based payday lender are being notified by mail, Attorney General Chris Carr announced Tuesday. Western Sky Financial’s settlement administrator, Dahl Administration, recently sent 10,806 “notice and claim form” packets regarding the deal. The company will...
BREAKING: Man refuses to leave residence; possible hostage situation
BREAKING: Man refuses to leave residence; possible hostage situation

A man in Morrow refused to leave his residence Wednesday afternoon about 4 p.m., police said. A second person inside the Woodstone Condos residence on Woodstone Terrace may not be there willingly, authorities said.  Police said they don’t know if the man is armed.  — Please return to for updates. 
Bribery probe: Atlanta releases 240,000 more pages of records to prosecutors
Bribery probe: Atlanta releases 240,000 more pages of records to prosecutors

Atlanta City Hall said Tuesday it has provided about 240,000 pages of additional documents to federal prosecutors in response to a subpoena delivered last month in the ongoing federal investigation into municipal contracts. PHOTOS: Who’s who in the Atlanta City Hall bribery probe? The new cache of records relate to the city’s former...
Old Mountain View Elementary land could become a mixed-use development
Old Mountain View Elementary land could become a mixed-use development

The land where Mountain View Elementary students played kickball and learned to multiply could become restaurants and apartments. The Cobb County Board of Education agreed at its Thursday meeting to sell the property, 3448 Sandy Plains Road, to developers with plans to build a housing-retail mixed-use project. Board members voted unanimously to sell...
More Stories