This website will be closing in August 2021. These blog posts and Dr. Hester's research papers are available at the Heritage Department of The Athens/Clarke County Library
Enduring Legacy: The Story of Clarke County, Georgia's Two Ex-Slave Legislators—Madison Davis and Alfred Richardson by Dr. Al Hester marks the first time this heroic story has been fully told. This book will be of interest to Civil War and Reconstruction history lovers—especially emphasizing Athens and Clarke County.
This award-winning book (award given for the Outstanding Publication for Historic Preservation in 2011, by the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation), throws new light on the efforts of ex-slaves to achieve their freedom, get the vote, and fashion a decent life in Clarke County, Georgia.
Davis took a moderate approach to heal relations between the races, but fought intimidation and abuse. Richardson, nearly murdered by the Ku klux Klan, killed one of the Klan in self-defense. His son-in-law strongly believed that Richardson was poisoned by his enemies at an oyster supper.
This book offers a worthwhile local history for Civil War fans and those interested in the difficult adjustments of blacks and whites during the Reconstruction period.
•Bonuses with Engaging Legacy are 20 pages of photographs and illustrations highlighting the Civil War and Reconstruction, along with portraits of members of the Davis and Richardson families.
•Enduring Legacy was published in October, 2010, and is available from amazon.com, many other sellers and Green Berry Press, the publisher (See Purchase Books).
•Readers can also purchase Athens Memories: The WPA Federal Writers Project Interviews, edited by Al Hester. This collection of 1930's interviews of white and black Athenians features their memories of Athens and Clarke County from as early as slavery and the Civil War and through the Depression. (See details on the Athens Memories Page).
A KKK Threat to Athens Freedmen's Bureau during Reconstruction Period
This threat by the terroristic Ku Klux Klan, which was active in Clarke County, was sent with a letter to Freedmen's Bureau Agent Howell Flournoy in 1868.
"You are suspected of belonging to the Loyal League so beware. For frauds committed by yourself and son you will before long receive your just reward. Your office and your house in danger. So beware."
(From Freedmen's Bureau Records in the National Archives.)
Madison Davis, pictured here, was one of two ex-slaves elected in April, 1868, to represent Athens and Clarke County in the Georgia State Legislature. The other ex-slave was Alfred Richardson. We haven't been able to find a picture of Richardson.
Click on Purchase Books to Order Enduring Legacy.
Enduring Legacy's front cover shows the struggle of African Americans to achieve equality in Georgia. The sculpture was commissioned by the Georgia Black Legislative Caucus.
African-American Historian Michael L. Thurmond has written the Foreword for Enduring Legacy. This African-American political leader is a native of Clarke County, and he became the first black representative from Clarke County since its ex-slaves Madison Davis and Alfred Richardson were elected in 1868.