"Shots in the Back: Exhuming the 1970 Augusta Riot" tells the story of one of the first major Civil Rights Era riots in the South. The immediate cause of the riot in Augusta, Ga. was the brutal murder of Charles Oatman, an African American teenager held by police in the county jail. During the riot, six black men were killed by white police officers, all of them shot in the back. In a collaboration, students at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts join GPB in telling this story.
Bonus: Telling The Story_
Host Sea Stachura and editor Keocia Howard look back on the making of "Shots in the Back: Exhuming the 1970 Augusta Riot."
Episode 6: Was The Augusta Riot Worth It?
Was the Augusta riot worth it? Fifty years after the uprising, we look at the societal changes that it sparked, and what the Civil Rights Movement looks like today.
Bonus: No Peace, No Justice, 1970
In 1970, what happened in Augusta was actually part of a larger national story as campuses across the country were shut down due to protests.
Episode 5: The Smoke Clears
In the months following Augusta's riot, activism was at an all-time high. As white Augustans braced themselves for the possibility of more violence, Black activists worked for more immediate change. Meanwhile, the police department rewarded the officers involved in the riot, and the friends and families of "The Augusta Six" demanded justice.
Bonus: All Cakes Should Be Equal
Students from the Jessye Norman School of the Arts have been working hard to tell the story of the 1970 Augusta riot in the podcast, Shots in the Back. Half of these students are white, while the rest are Black. That dynamic has made it intimidating to talk about racism in the classroom. In this bonus episode, several of them share their fears about racism.
Episode 4: Shoot To Kill
Inside the chaos of the uprising, Black and white leaders were trying to quell the violence. As rioters set fire to white-owned businesses, police officers were told to shoot to kill. In this episode, we tell the stories of the six Black men killed by white police officers. The victims, who were all shot in the back, would be remembered as The Augusta Six.
I learned a lot about Augusta’s history and was blown away by the eloquence, thoughtfulness, & engagement of these students. Hearing young people tackle tough issues was impressive and inspiring. Thank you for the hard work on this!
There was so much to learn here but my biggest takeaway as a GA mother of 3 is how to continue the conversation around race with my kids. Excellent podcast!
A necessary discussion
If the City of Augusta is to ever realize it’s community vision of “One Augusta”, that “celebrates geographic, socio-economic and racial diversity” the full history of this city’s past has to be told. Not just to illuminate the local story of the area majority, but to speak truth to their experience. As noted by Dr. John Henrik Clarke, “History is a clock that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are, but more importantly, what they must be.” I so much appreciate this effort to inform the residents of Augusta, and the greater CSRA region, of the history of the Golden Blocks, that we may one day again find ourselves and define for ourselves who and what we must be.