The slayings of George and Mae Murray Dorsey and Roger and Dorothy Malcolm by a white lynch mob occurred on July 25, 1946 near the Moore’s Ford Bridge on the Appalachee River between the Walton and Oconee counties. The brutal killings seized national headlines and triggered a federal response. Compelled to act, President Harry S. Truman dispatched FBI agents to Georgia to investigate the murders. President Truman also issued an executive order in December 1946 establishing the President’s Committee on Civil Rights, which issued a host of recommendations including federal anti-lynching legislation. Faced with uncooperative witnesses, however, U.S. attorneys declined to seek indictments, and intransigent lawmakers—chiefly representing southern states—blocked anti-lynching legislation in Congress.
Governor Roy Barnes ordered the case reopened in 2001, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation followed suit in 2006. State and federal officials closed the case in December 2017, and the nation’s last mass lynching remains unsolved.
The Russell Library houses a number of Moore’s Ford related collections. The records of the Moore’s Ford Memorial Committee, donated by Richard Rusk and Rosemary Woodel, document the efforts of black and white citizens of Walton and Oconee counties to commemorate the slayings, seek justice for the Dorseys and Malcolms, and endow memorial scholarships for local students. The Samuel J. Hardman Research Files include a number of documents produced by the FBI during its 1946-47 investigation. Copies of investigation summaries, witness reports, description of physical evidence, internal bureau communication, and an article penned by Hardman feature prominently.
These and other collections are currently open for research.