Story of a Georgia man killed in 1946 for voting retold by NPR and StoryCorps

Martin Luther King Jr. on graduation day at Morehouse College. (Used with permission, Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Morehouse College)

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Martin Luther King Jr. on graduation day at Morehouse College. (Used with permission, Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Morehouse College)

The story of Maceo Snipes includes his influence on a young Martin Luther King Jr.

The story of a Black Georgia Army veteran who was lynched after voting in rural Georgia in 1946 and his influence on a young Martin Luther King Jr. is included in a StoryCorps audio prepared for NPR’s Morning Edition on Friday.

Maceo Snipes, who returned home to Taylor County after serving in World War II, was killed in July 1946 when four men shot him outside a relative’s home, according to a 2019 article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Snipes was killed after voting in the statewide Democratic primary election for governor.

Shortly after, a young King, then 17 and a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, wrote a letter that was published in The Atlanta Constitution. It is believed the letter was prompted by the killing of Snipes and the lynching that same summer of two Black couples. George and Mae Murray Dorsey and Roger and Dorothy Malcom, were killed by a mob at the Moore’s Ford Bridge between Monroe and Watkinsville.

Snipes’ great-neice, Raynita Snipes Johnson, told his story for StoryCorps, including his influence on King’s later work for voting rights and racial justice and mentioning King’s letter to the Constitution. The story was originally recorded in collaboration with the PBS series Frontline, according to StoryCorps.

Read and hear the story by Raynita Snipes Johnson on StoryCorps.org

Read the 2019 article by Rosalind Bentley in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Image of M.L. King Jr.’s letter to The Atlanta Constitution. The newspaper published the letter Aug. 6, 1946.

Image of M.L. King Jr.’s letter to The Atlanta Constitution. The newspaper published the letter Aug. 6, 1946.

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Image of M.L. King Jr.’s letter to The Atlanta Constitution. The newspaper published the letter Aug. 6, 1946.

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