Black mayor of segregated Georgia town says calls out city’s racism

Camilla mayor Rufus Davis boycotts city hall meetings until town addresses its racial segregation

(Photo: CBS Atlanta)

Rufus Davis, the mayor of Camilla, Ga., said that he and a city councilman would sit out of city council meetings until the city addressed its massive racial problem.

Camilla, a small town of only about 5,000 residents, is about 70 percent Black, but its leadership, according to Davis, keeps Camilla in the past with “segregationist practices.”

Segregation in practice

Per the Miami Herald, here are the segregationist practices Davis outlined:

  • African Americans cannot be buried next to white people in the city-owned cemetery
  • All City Hall employees are white, except three, including the custodian
  • Over 97 percent of African Americans who apply for jobs inside City Hall have been rejected
  • The town employs no African American police officers
  • 99 percent of all white students attend the historically all-white private school in town
  • 99 percent of all African American students attend the public schools in town
  • The city is hyper-gerrymandered

What’s more, Davis said that the town’s white city manager has been consolidating power to shut him out of his mayoral duties. Now, Davis claimed, he is a leader in name only.

Davis told WAOK in a radio interview that he had seen the body of a biracial man exhumed from the cemetery before his tenure as mayor. The body was moved to the Black side of the cemetery, which is separated from the white side by a fence, after it was revealed that he was half-black.

The city manager responds

The city manager, Bennett Adams, disputed the claims. He said that seven City Hall employees, out of twenty-two, were Black. What’s more, he said, department heads were in charge of accepting or rejecting job applications.

As for the school segregation, Adams explained that away by saying that parents simply chose to put their children in those segregated schools.

Adams also said that he would “love to have three or four” Black police officers, “but that is an issue everywhere.”