Joseph L. Bernd collection of Federal Bureau of Investigation records on the 1946 Georgia election, 1946.


Bernd, Joseph L. Joseph L. Bernd collection of Federal Bureau of Investigation records on the 1946 Georgia election, 1946.

Joseph L. Bernd collection of Federal Bureau of Investigation records on the 1946 Georgia election, 1946.

In the summer of 1946, Lamar Caudle, Assistant Attorney General in Washington, D.C. contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to launch a comprehensive investigation of every allegation of deprivation of civil rights of African Americans in the south in connection with the 1946 election. The investigation was based on complaints that the political supporters of Eugene Talmadge, a candidate for Governor, were making efforts "to bring about the wholesale purge" of African Americans from the voter registration lists regardless of their qualifications under Georgia law. The claims led to separate investigations in ninety counties in Georgia including: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Barrow, Bartow, Ben Hill, Bibb, Bleckley, Brooks, Bullock, Butts, Calhoun, Camden, Chatham, Chattahoochee, Clark, Clay, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Douglas, Early, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hall, Hancock, Haralson, Hart, Henry, Houston, Irwin, Jackson, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Jones, Lamar, Laurens, Liberty, Long, Macon, Madison, Marion, Meriwether, Miller, Mitchell, Monroe, Montgomery, McDuffie, McIntosh, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Peach, Pierce, Polk, Putnam, Randolph, Rockdale, Schley, Seminole, Spalding, Stewart, Sumter, Taylor, Telfair, Thomas, Toombs, Twiggs, Upson, Walton, Warren, Washington, Wilcox, Wilkes, Wilkinson, and Worth. The photocopies of FBI reports in this collection detail civil rights and domestic violence claims by countless victims throughout the state and contain interviews with complainants, challengers, members of county Board of Registrars, and others. Also included are diagrams with legends about attacks on homes, memorandums, and speeches. Examples of the numerous claims include: picketers outside polling places armed with sticks and rocks in Manchester, Georgia threatening African American voters; white men burning a fiery cross in Greenville, Georgia where approximately 52 registered voters were prevented from voting; in Meriwether County, 700 challenges were filed against all black voters registered since 1944 and 400 of the voters were disqualified at a hearing of the Board of Registrars or by failure to appear when subpoenaed; in Cairo, Georgia approximately 21 automobiles and trucks containing masked white men shooting rifles, shotguns, and revolvers visited the homes of three prominent African American citizens telling them not to go to the polls and instructing them to their friends not to go to the polls. The records were obtained from the FBI by Joseph L. Bernd as part of a thirty-year project that began in the 1950s. The files are only partially redacted and in many cases include the names of witnesses, participants, and victims involved in the investigations. The Georgia Historical Society contacted the FBI for permission prior to making these records available to the public. According to Associate Division Counsel of the FBI in Atlanta, any information that has gone through the Freedom of Information Act process and made available to an individual citizen is considered to be public information and may be made available to a wider audience for research purposes.

1 box (.5 cubic feet)

Related Constellations

There are 3 Constellations related to this resource.

United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation (corporateBody)

The FBI established this classification when it assumed responsibility for ascertaining the protection capabilities and weaknesses of defense plants. Each plant survey was a separate case file, with the survey, supplemental surveys, and all communications dealing with a plant insofar as plant protection was concerned, filed together. On June 1, 1941, and January 5, 1942, the Navy and Army, respectively, assumed responsibility for surveying defense plants in which they had interests. Thereafter, ...

Talmadge, Eugene, 1884-1946 (person)

Born in Forsyth, Georgia; educated at the University of Georgia; practicing lawyer in Atlanta, Montgomery County, and Telfair County, Georgia; Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture, 1927-1933; served three terms as Governor of Georgia; died as governor-elect in 1946. From the description of Pamphlets, 1942. (University of Southern Mississippi, Regional Campus). WorldCat record id: 17429974 ...

Bernd, Joseph L. (person)

Historian and political scientist. From the description of Papers, 1958-1984. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 23371671 Joseph L. Bernd was born on 8 December 1923 in Blacksburg, Virginia. According to the 1930 U.S. Census, he was living in Macon, Georgia that year with his parents, Lawrence and Eva Bernd and his sibling, Augustus. In 1959, he served as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at High Point College in North Carolina, and later joined the sta...