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What Is ‘Buried Truths’?

In 1948, three black farmers decided they’d had enough. They were going to vote in rural South Georgia, where white supremacists held power by suppressing the black vote. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and Emory University professor Hank Klibanoff explores the mysteries and injustices of history through civil rights cases that few have seen. How far would white supremacists go — on the streets, in the courtrooms, in the legislatures — to preserve their racial dominance? And, most importantly, why? Who were we back then? The truth is restless, relevant and revealed.

You can find the latest episodes of the series here. If you’re just getting started, be sure to start with Episode 1, which you can find for free on Apple Podcasts | Google Play Music | Stitcher 

About WABE

The Buried Truths podcast is produced and funded by WABE, Atlanta’s NPR station. It’s made possible by financial contributions from our listeners. If you’d like to donate to support the podcast, you can do so here.

1: “Pistols”

After Primus King, a black barber and pastor, successfully sued the Democratic Party for denying his right to vote on the grounds of race and color, three-term Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge declared, “This is a white man’s country and we must keep it so.” The best way to do so: “Pistols.”

Bonus: The Three Governors Controversy

In 1946, Eugene Talmadge was elected to a fourth term as governor of Georgia, however, he died a month later, before he could take office. In a bizarre, almost-comedic turn of events, for two months, three men—Melvin Thompson, Ellis Arnall and Herman Talmadge, son of Eugene —would lay claim to the governor’s seat.

2: “Fall, Isaiah, Fall”

Election day is usually a grand occasion for a small town like Alston, GA. For the white people in town, September 8, 1948, marked a day of good ole traditions and community. But for black voters, it became a place of opportunity…and defiance. 

3: Trial…and Error

Dover Carter has to make a crucial decision. Isaiah Nixon’s daughter Dorothy, having witnessed the shooting of her father, retreats and seethes. The Buried Truths team uncovers over 500 pages of FBI and NAACP records.

5: “I Found It!”

FBI director Robert Mueller systematically reopens civil rights cold cases. Hank and his students head to Montgomery County to explore what happened with the FBI’s first investigation into the trial of Isaiah Nixon’s killers – and they make an amazing discovery that had eluded the Nixon family for nearly 70 years. 

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