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Race relations: Fleeting efforts made a century ago to find common ground

Like a beacon of light in a dark night, attempts to form committees for improved race relations came together one century ago in Gloucester and Mathews. Just as quickly as a beacon, they disappeared.

Gloucester’s effort came first. On Aug. 31, 1920, during a gathering in the courthouse, “preliminary steps were taken in the organization of an Inter-Racial County Committee, to act in conjunction with the state and national organization,” the Gloucester Gazette reported.

Across the South at that time, the Commission on Inter-Racial Cooperation was forming local committees. The organization was founded in 1919 in Atlanta in order to “oppose lynching, mob violence, and peonage and to educate white southerners concerning the worst aspects of racial abuse,” stated an online article in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

An article in Wikipedia puts a different slant on the operation.

It states that “In spite of its official ‘interracial’ title, the commission was formed primarily by li...

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