In Augusta, East Georgia, six American negroes were shot to death in a night of looting and fire bombing which began on Monday (May 11), and continued into Tuesday morning (May 12).
In Augusta, East Georgia, six American negroes were shot to death in a night of looting and fire bombing which began on Monday (May 11), and continued into Tuesday morning (May 12). On Monday evening members of the main group of demonstrators, protesting at the fatal beating of a 16 year-old negro youth in the city jail, ripped down and burned the State flag. Police prevented them from ripping down an American flag. When the main demonstration broke up, smaller groups of protesters began to roam the city, and later the looting and fire bombing began.
By late Monday night dozens of fires had been set alight in Augusta, a city of 80,000 on the South Carolina border. At some locations firemen were forced to abandon their fire-fighting because of snipers.
State Governor Lester Maddox called out the National Guard to deal with the trouble, making a special point of saying their weapons were loaded, and they would show no mercy to negro snipers and looters.
The riot was touched off by the killing of a 16 year-old negro in his jail cell on Sunday night. Police said the boy was attacked by two black cell mates. Negro townspeople said that the police had beaten the boy to death.
On Monday afternoon several hundred negroes, charging that crowded jail conditions contributed to the boy's death, staged a protest march through the city centre which developed into a melee. From then on the disorder in the city steadily increased. Stores were looted and set on fire, rockets were thrown, and cars were overturned. Snipers interfered with the activities of police, national Guardsmen, and firemen.
The negro ghetto was sealed off, a curfew was imposed, more than sixty persons were injured, and there were hundreds of arrests before the situation was brought under control after midnight.