Jessye Norman School, GPB present podcast examining 1970 Augusta riot


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Jessye Norman School of the Arts is collaborating with Georgia Public Broadcasting on a new podcast that takes a look at a moment in history that happened fifty years ago in the garden city.

‘Shots in the Back: Exhuming the 1970 Augusta Riot’ premieres Monday, June 29th.

The six-episode podcast takes a deep look into one of the first major Civil Rights era riots to happen in the south, and discusses how this event is still relevant today.

“The sad reality is there are so many parallels with this story to what we are seeing with recent unrests in cities like Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Ferguson, Mo.,” said Sean Powers, GPB’s director of podcasting. “If we forget these stories, we run the risk of repeating history.”

MORE: 50 year observance of Augusta riots

The inciting incident behind the riot was the murder of Charles Oatman, an African American teenager that was held by police in the county jail.

“He had three long gashes across his back, about a half an inch deep and about a foot long,” recalled the late Augusta city councilman Grady Abrams. “The back of his skull was busted out. He had cigarette burns all over his body and fork marks all across this body as if somebody had taken a fork and just pressed him all over his body.”

The podcast is hosted by Sea Stachura, a journalist and instructor at the Jessye Norman School. It also features the voices and contributions of students who are a part of her podcasting class at the school.

Shots in the Back’ is available on a number of podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Tunein, NPR One and Google Podcasts.

You can also find more information, plus the first episode, by clicking HERE.


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