THE FAMILY TREE:
A Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets and My Search for the Truth by Karen Branan
A true account of the hanging of four black people by a white lynch mob in 1912—written by the great-granddaughter of the sheriff who allowed the lynching.
Branan describes her almost twenty-year search for the truth behind her grandmother’s casual reply to the query “What is your most unforgettable memory?” The reply was, “The hanging,” which Branan would learn referred to the 1912 lynching of four black residents–a woman and three men–in retaliation for the killing of the sheriff’s nephew. Newly sworn into office, the sheriff–Branan’s maternal great-grandfather–allowed the lynching, for which no one was ever apprehended.
Karen Branan is a veteran journalist who has written for newspapers, magazines, stage, and television for almost fifty years. Her work has appeared in Life, Mother Jones, Ms., Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Today’s Health, Learning, Parents, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and on PBS, CBS, ABC, CBC, BBC, and CNN.