Mack Henry Brown
History (Click to learn more)
Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, December 23, 1936
On the night of November 13, 1936, Mack Brown, a black man who worked as a janitor in an Atlanta apartment building, disappeared from his apartment. Several weeks later, on December 23, 1936, a white woman discovered Mr. Brown’s dead body floating in the Chattahoochee River; he had been shot, and he was handcuffed and bound at the feet.
At a later coroner’s inquest, witnesses revealed that, just days before Mr. Brown’s disappearance, a white woman who lived in the apartment complex where Mr. Brown worked had reported that he had kissed her on the hand after she asked him what she owed him for fixing a shade in her apartment. The woman told her husband, who then told the police and the apartment building agent.
During this era, whites’ fears of interracial sex extended to any action by a black man that could be interpreted as seeking or desiring contact with a white woman. Accusations of “assault” that sparked violent reprisal and lynching were often based on merely looking at or accidentally bumping into a white woman, smiling, winking, getting too close, an innocent touch of the hand, or a simple disagreement.
One of Mr. Brown’s coworkers testified that a woman who was with Mr. Brown the night he disappeared reported that two white men had taken him from his home; she thought they were taking Mr. Brown to jail, but he was not seen alive again and his date of death is unclear. Indeed, in the days following his disappearance, people searching for Mr. Brown were led to believe that he had been arrested and sent to work on the chain gain. However, after his death was discovered, investigation revealed no records or other evidence that Mr. Brown had ever been taken to jail. The coroner’s jury concluded that Mr. Brown died as a result of two bullet wounds: one through the tip of his heart and another through the lungs. The jury also concluded that the perpetrators were unknown. Mr. Brown’s killers were never identified.
Mack Brown was one of at least 36 African American victims of racial terror lynching killed in Fulton County between 1877 and 1950.
February 28, 2021
Mack Henry Brown, a Black handy-man, lived and worked in Atlanta. In November 13, 1936, he was abducted from his apartment by a group of white men after it was alleged that he kissed the hand of a white woman after making some repairs in her apartment. His body was found on December 23, 1936, handcuffed and shot, at the confluence of Roswell’s Vickery Creek and the Chattahoochee River. No one was held accountable for his murder. Memorializing lynching victims like Mack Henry Brown reminds us of our history of racial injustice and the need to remain persistent in the pursuit of equal justice.
March 30, 2019
Roswell Soil Collection Ceremony
Remembrance Ceremony for Mr. Mack Henry Brown
Fulton County Remembrance Coalition
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Arrival of guests, each guest is handed a flower and program
Guests wait silently next to creek
Large bucket is silently filled with dirt
by Allison Bantimba (FCRC Liaison)
Story of Mr. Mack Brown s death
Read by Karimah Dillard
Performed by The Reverend Patricia Templeton (Saint Dunstan Episcopal Church)
Individuals step forward and put a spadeful of dirt into the FCI jar
National Park Service
Heading north on Roswell Road, cross the Chattahoochee River, take an immediate right onto Riverside Road, then an immediate left into a small parking lot. Sign there states NPS Riverside Vickery Creek Unit.
Additional parking is located on the other side of the street, just after the Water Treatment Plant, at the City of Roswell Riverside Park. Restrooms are located at the Riverside Park location.