Ever Heard Of Oscarville?


Raegan Travers, Reporter/Writer | Copy Editor: Deontae Roach

Most people have heard the phrase that ‘black history is whitewashed’ or something along those lines. I personally agree with the statement. However, when I just went along with what everyone else said I never actually realized the gravity of that statement. I’ve only recently been able to acknowledge that black history is whitewashed. I don’t mean whitewashed in the obvious ways that we all know like showing naive 5-10-year-old kids black and white videos of Martin Luther King Jr. from 1963… What I’m talking about is the history we don’t get to learn at all unless you hear it from someone else or unless of course, you sign up for a specialized course on it.

Lake Lanier. Some of you may or may not have heard of it. I’m not going to act like I’m an expert or anything because I only learned about it last year but it’s still important to learn about this. Anyways, when  you look up Lake Lanier the first thing you’re going to see is that ̈Lake Lanier is a reservoir in the northern portion of the U.S. state of Georgia…¨.

Lake Lanier was a highly developed black neighborhood with raceways, businesses, houses, churches, schools, and so many other things. The neighborhood was known as Oscarville in Forsyth County. That was until 1912 when the neighborhood, unfortunately, suffered a “racial cleansing” driving out about 1,100 people. This act of terrorism was a response to rape accusations from a white woman and an alleged assault of another white woman. A lynch mob was formed and they attacked and hung one black suspect and held a public hanging for two teenagers after a short ‘trial’. (It was more of a shady manipulation and a coerced confession). There was also an angry mob who beat and horse-whipped a preacher who tried to vie for the accused’s freedom.  After more and more ruthless murders things continued to escalate. In their racially motivated haze, they decided to get rid of the entire town. Most of its black residents moved away to avoid death and others were murdered for not leaving. The property deeds that had rightfully belonged to black people managed to get into the hands of whites. Their land was stolen in a matter of years and after that, Forsyth County was declared a white-only county.

The land was eventually sold to the government and in 1957 Lake Lanier was created under the authorization of the U.S. military. It’s also named after a Confederate Army poet and musician. With the lake’s creation, it flooded the entire town and buried its history with it. There have been over 500 deaths since the lake’s creation and more than 200 since 1994, remember the lake was created in 1957.

I honestly didn’t even go that deep into everything that happened because there are so many different sources and layers of egregious and blatant racism but there’s just too much to cover in this one article. I believe this story is mainly known because it was passed down but I’m glad people have been talking about it more and more.

This isn’t the only town that this has happened to by the way.

I am continually disappointed by the standard that our country has displayed in terms of learning black history. I should not have to search for black history when I do not have to search for the past on all of these white people. I want to learn about people like me, not just the people who took everything from them.