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Arts & Culture
Peabody Award-winner Trey Kay brings us stories exploring all sides of the cultural issues that too often divide us.

No Justice In Augusta: Remembering A Little Known Race Riot

Augusta Georgia Riot
Miami Herald
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Charles Oatman in his A.R. Johnson Junior High School yearbook portrait. On Saturday, May 9, 1970, the news of the 16-year-old’s torture and brutal death caused long-simmering frustrations about racial injustice to boil over.

We can document almost everything around us with devices of all kinds, but in 1970, there were few cameras around when police opened fire on crowds in Augusta, Georgia.

A protest-turned-riot over the brutal murder of a Black teenager left six Black men dead from police bullets. There was never justice for any of the deaths, including 16-year-old Charles Oatman, who died in the Richmond County Jail. The story of that riot remains relatively unknown among Augusta residents both Black and white.

Us & Them host Trey Kay talks with podcast producer Sea Stachura about her award-winning work, “Shots in the Back: Exhuming the 1970 Augusta Riot.” Historians call it one of the largest uprisings of the Civil Rights Era in the Deep South. 

This episode of Us & Them is presented with support from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, CRC Foundation and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Click on the hyperlinked title to hear the entire award-winning podcast series, Shots In The Back: Exhuming The 1970 Augusta Riot.

Charles Oatman Photo
Miami Herald
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Charles Oatman in his A.R. Johnson Junior High School yearbook portrait. On Saturday, May 9, the news of the 16-year-old’s torture and brutal death brought long-simmering frustrations about racial injustice to a boiling point.
Augusta Municipal Building
Augusta College Yearbook
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Black protesters gather in front of the Municipal Building in Augusta, GA mid-afternoon on Monday, May 11 to demand answers from law enforcement officials about the circumstances of the death of Charles Oatman.
Hill's Food Store
Augusta Chronicle
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On May 11, 1970, this was 9th Street (today it’s James Brown Blvd) at the intersection of D’Antignac Street in Augusta, GA, where working-class African American residents ransacked White-owned Hill’s Food Store.
White's Laundry, Augusta GA
Augusta Chronicle
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White-owned Snow’s Laundry and Dry Cleaning in Augusta, GA goes up in flames after a firebombing.
Williams Beauty Supply and the Harlem Pawn Shop
Paine College Yearbook
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Augusta policemen patrol while white-owned stores Williams Beauty Supply and the Harlem Pawn Shop burn.
Overturned Car
Paine College Yearbook
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Policemen with shotguns occupy a part of Augusta where protesters overturned the car of a white motorist.
Augusta 6
New England Free Press / Library of Congress
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"Don't mourn ... organize! Remember the Augusta six." poster from 1970.
Jesseye Norman Students Visit Charles Oatman's Grave
Sea Stachura
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Students from the Jessye Norman School of Arts – Podcasting Class on a field trip with Linton Oatman to visit the grave of his nephew Charles Oatman.
Sea Stachura's Students
Sea Stachura
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Students from Sea Stachura's Podcasting Class at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts in Augusta, GA helped with the reporting on a podcast series that was honored with an National Edward R. Murrow Award.
Murrows2021_Awards-108.png
RTDNA - Edward R. Murrow Awards
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Sea Stachura bobbles her award at the 2021 National Edward R. Murrow Honors in New York City.


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