(From left) Bobbie Hart, Wesley Edwards, Michael Bowen, Gene Bowen and Mike Merideth visit the Troup County site where Austin Callaway was found bleeding to death from gunshot wounds in 1940. Their organization, Troup Together, has been researching Callaway’s lynching and working to promote racial dialogue in the county. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Family reveals 76-year-old secret in Ga. lynching

A Georgia family’s efforts to save a black man taken from a local jail in 1940 and shot by a group of white men in Troup County is coming to light decades after the lynching.

Gene Bowen, 83, was reminded of the lynching in January when LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar apologized for his agency’s role in failing to protect Austin Callaway at the city jail.

Seventy-six years ago, Bowen’s older brother, Uyless, was walking along a rural dirt road and spotted a stranger bleeding on the side of the road near their farmhouse. His parents wrapped Callaway in a sheet and took him to a local hospital, but he died that same day.

The family, fearing retribution from the Ku Klux Klan, stayed quiet about their attempt to save Callaway until Bowen broke the silence to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a Troup County group that has been researching the lynching.

Read about how the lynching has galvanized county and city residents on myAJC.com. Return to AJC.com and myAJC.com this weekend for coverage of the dedication of a historic marker memorializing the lynching and recognizing others in the area, and read the full story in Sunday’s AJC.

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