Rage in the Gate City

The Story of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot

Title Details

Pages: 232

Illustrations: 24 b&w photos

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 07/01/2009

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3307-6

List Price: $24.95

Rage in the Gate City

The Story of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot

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  • Description
  • Reviews

During the hot summer of 1906, anger simmered in Atlanta, a city that outwardly savored its reputation as the Gate City of the New South, a place where the races lived peacefully, if apart, and everyone focused more on prosperity than prejudice. But racial hatred came to the forefront during a heated political campaign, and the city's newspapers fanned its flames with sensational reports alleging assaults on white women by black men. The rage erupted in late September, and, during one of the most brutal race riots in the history of America, roving groups of whites attacked and killed at least twenty-five blacks. After four days of violence, black and white civic leaders came together in unprecedented meetings that can be viewed either as concerted public relations efforts to downplay the events or as setting the stage for Atlanta's civil rights leadership half a century later.

Rage in the Gate City focuses on the events of August and September 1906, offering readers a tightly woven narrative account of those eventful days. Fast-paced and vividly detailed, it brings history to life. As June Dobbs Butts writes in her foreword, "For too long, this chapter of Atlanta's history was covered up, or was explained away. . . . Rebecca Burns casts the bright light of truth upon those events."

In this detailed and riveting account, supplemented with photographs of the time, journalist Burns explores the social and economic factors that led to the riot, which has been downplayed in the history of a city that prides itself on racial harmony.


The Atlanta Riot of 1906 was a tragedy fueled by misinformation and political ambition, but it ultimately led to the first steps of interracial cooperation that characterized progressive Atlanta for the next hundred years. . . . Perhaps if more Americans read Rage in the Gate City—the story of this important but often overlooked chapter in Atlanta's history—it might save our nation from the painful repetition of these acts of hatred and violence.

—John Lewis, U. S. Congressman

A must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Atlanta has become the city that it is today as a result of what Burns describes as a 'shameful chapter in white Atlanta's history and painful one for black Atlanta'.

—M. Alexis Scott, CEO and Publisher, Atlanta Daily World

Ably brings to life the 1906 Atlanta race riot, a seminal event in the city's history, yet one that has largely been forgotten. In so doing, [Burns] provides a valuable service for Atlantans today.

—Clifford M. Kuhn, coauthor of Living Atlanta: An Oral History of the City, 1914–1948

Brings one of the city's most critical pieces of history to vivid and concise life. Although it is a slender volume, it tells a big story successfully and well. The seeds of Atlanta's racial comity and the roots of its racial travails are all here.

—Steve Oney, author of And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank

About the Author/Editor

REBECCA BURNS is editor in chief of Atlanta Magazine, which has won numerous regional and national awards under her direction.