Georgia Historical Society Virtually Dedicates New Civil Rights Trail Historical Marker for Riot of May 11-12, 1970, in Augusta

September 29, 2020, Savannah, GA – The Georgia Historical Society today announced the virtual dedication of a new Georgia historical marker for The Riot of May 11-12, 1970, in Augusta, Georgia. In keeping with safety protocols relating to COVID-19 the marker is being highlighted in a virtual dedication across all GHS social media platforms and on the web.

The marker is located at 535 Telfair Street, Augusta, in front of the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building.

The rollout will take place this week beginning with this announcement and continuing with a series of blog posts available on all GHS social media platforms throughout the week.

“The Georgia Historical Society is dedicated to telling the stories of the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia,” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “We hope that all who visit this marker will learn about the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Augusta and its wider impact on the nation.”

“Very few people outside of Augusta and academia know of this uprising,” said Corey Rogers, Historian at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum in Augusta and member of the 1970 Augusta Riot 50th Observance Committee. “It was a pivotal point in the history of not just Augusta but the post-1965 Civil Rights Movement. This event, along with incidents that occurred at Jackson State University and Kent State University the same year, reminded America that there was still a struggle for equality in America and that even though some progress had been made in the 1960s, more was needed for America to fulfill the notion that all men are created equal.”

For more information about the The Riot of May 11 – 12, 1970 historical marker you can follow the Georgia Historical Society on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For more information about the Georgia Historical Society Historical Marker Program please contact Pattye Meagher, GHS Director of Communications, at or by cell at 434.996.7085.

The marker reads:

The Riot of May 11-12, 1970

On May 11, 1970, Augusta became the site of Georgia’s largest uprising during the Civil Rights era. Hundreds of black citizens gathered at the Municipal Building to demand an investigation into the beating death of Charles Oatman, a 16-year old African American, in the county jail. When white officials resisted, long-simmering grievances about racial injustice boiled over. Some protesters targeted Chinese-American and white-owned property for destruction. As the riot escalated police fired shotguns, killing six and wounding dozens. The Georgia National Guard occupied Paine College and black neighborhoods. Local trials convicted nearly 100 protestors. Despite an FBI investigation and federal trials of two white police officers, no official was convicted. “Kent-Augusta-Jackson-S.E. Asia” later became a national rallying cry, and the protests galvanized activism and accelerated desegregation in Augusta.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, and The Augusta Riot 50th Observance Committee

Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
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The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) administers Georgia’s historical marker program. Over the past 20 years, GHS has erected nearly 300 new historical markers across the state on a wide variety of subjects. GHS also coordinates the maintenance for more than 2,100 markers installed by the State of Georgia prior to 1998. Online mapping tools allow users to design driving routes based on historical markers, and a mobile app helps visitors locate and learn about markers nearby. Visit for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened.