Charlie Sherman, a down-and-out Atlanta writer, is chosen by a mysterious stranger to complete a dead professor’s unfinished work. What Charlie finds is an unwieldy manuscript about the mob-driven expulsion of more than 1,000 blacks from Forsyth County, Georgia in 1912. During the course of his work, Charlie uncovers a terrible secret involving a Forsyth County land grab. Due to its proximity to Atlanta, the stolen farm is now worth $20 million—and a sale is pending.
Charlie is convinced (with good reason) that he has been chosen to right a historic wrong, so when he finds the lawful heir to the land, a retired African-American teacher, he seeks to wreak vengeance upon the evildoers and help the woman reclaim what is rightfully hers. That's when things go horribly wrong.
Brambleman: Where “Deliverance” meets the “Da Vinci Code.”
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: Forsyth County, famous as the birthplace of Hee-Haw’s Junior Samples, has for most of the past century, existed as an intentionally all-white community bordering the black Mecca of Atlanta since 1912, following one of the 20th century’s most violent racist outrages—including lynching, nightriding, and arson.
In 1987, the sleepy community gained notoriety when a small march led by civil rights firebrand Hosea Williams was broken up by rock- and bottle-throwing Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and their sympathizers. Bloody but unbowed, Williams returned the next week with 25,000 followers in one of largest civil rights marches in history. There was talk of reparations. Oprah came. Protests and counter-protests yielded a landmark Supreme Court case on free speech. But most importantly, white people flocked to Forsyth. It became the fastest- growing county in the nation, the richest one in Georgia, and one of the twenty wealthiest in the U.S.
Jonathan Grant is the award-winning co-author and editor of The Way It Was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia (University of Georgia Press). Currently, he publishes georgiacollegesblog.com, a news website covering educational issues. His first novel, Chain Gang Elementary, will be available soon.
Grant grew up on a Midwestern farm and graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia with a degree in English. He is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and bureau chief with The Macon Telegraph. He also served as a Georgia state government spokesman for six years.
He lives in suburban Atlanta with his wife and two children. Actively involved in community affairs, he has served as PTA president at a five-star Georgia School of Excellence, an elected member of his local school council, and as a soccer coach for twelve seasons.
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