Georgia History That I Knew Nothing About: Columbians of 1946

While not well-versed in the history of racism in my home state, I was consider myself fairly well informed. Therefore I was surprised that it took until yesterday (thanks to a photo in AJC’s new Photo Vault Tumblr) to become aware that in 1946, there was a Georgia-based neo-nazi group called the Columbians.

Consider this excerpt from the Georgia Encyclopedia:

“During the summer of 1946, Atlantans witnessed the rise of the Columbians, the nation’s first neo-Nazi political organization. The group pursued a campaign of intimidation against the city’s minorities, patrolling those neighborhoods most vulnerable to racial transition, and threatening with violence those residents who dared cross the city’s “color line.” Although they attracted some support from Atlanta’s working-class whites, the Columbians were uniformly condemned by the city’s press and targeted for arrest by its political establishment. By the following summer the group had dissolved, following the conviction of its leaders, Homer Loomis and Emory Burke, on charges of usurping police power and inciting to riot.”

While racism still exists today on some level, I take some solace that as far back as 1946, the establishment fought it on some level. Not as much as it should, of course–but still some level of resistance is better than none. God, if only I could say there is no racism today, but that’s sadly would be a delusional belief.