In 1912, a young girl’s murder rocked the rural community of Forsyth County, Georgia, and led a mob of whites to lynch a black man on the town square. A month later, thousands cheered the hanging, on spurious evidence, of two black teenagers, then set fire to the homes and churches of farmers, field hands, and servants. Bands of night-riders declared Forsyth “whites-only” and sent 1,100 citizens running for their lives. Whites took over their livestock, harvested their crops, and laid claim to “abandoned” black land, slowly erasing all evidence of their communal crime.Blood at the Root is a sweeping American tale, spanning the Cherokee removals of the 1830s, the hope and promise of Reconstruction, and the crushing injustice of Forsyth’s racial cleansing. The story continues to the verge of our own era, including a violent attack on civil rights activists in 1987, as residents fought to “Keep Forsyth White” well into the 1990s. Patrick Phillips breaks the century-long silence of his hometown and uncovers a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America in the twenty-first century.