Time Machine: May 11 in regional history – News – The Augusta Chronicle

Time Machine: May 11 in regional history – News – The Augusta Chronicle


Racial violence erupted in Augusta when large crowds of blacks began gathering to demand answers to the jailhouse death of 16-year-old Charles Oatman.

MAY 11, 1970

Racial violence erupted in Augusta when large crowds of blacks began gathering to demand answers to the jailhouse death of 16-year-old Charles Oatman.

Two fellow teenage inmates would later be convicted in Oatman’s death, but many complained the youngsters should have been better supervised in the youth section of the jail.

Demonstrations mounted and on May 11, 1970, sections of downtown Augusta were set ablaze, looted or vandalized. Almost 100 people would be indicted and dozens were injured in confrontations. Six black men would die — all shot in the back with buckshot.

A thousand National Guardsmen and 150 state troopers were called in and Gov. Lester Maddox asked James Brown to leave a concert appearance to go to Augusta to help calm the situation.

Related: Group prepares to commemorate 50th anniversary of Augusta riot

Photos: 1970 Augusta Riots



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