Mayor Rufus Davis stands with community members at a segregated cemetery / TWITTER

Black Mayor in Segregated Georgia Town Denied Office Keys by City Council For Two Years

The mayor of a Georgia town so racially divided that even its cemetery is segregated is fighting back against the discrimination that has long plagued his residents.


Mayor Rufus Davis was elected to his post in Camilla, Ga., in 2015. According to Davis, his own city council has refused to give him keys to City Hall, boycotted his first meeting as mayor and put an end to public meetings.

Two years after his election, Davis is reportedly trying a different tactic and boycotting his City Council meetings.

Camilla’s racial issues are clear, Davis told The Root.

“The city is 70 percent African American, but there are no Black police officers,” he said. “There are only three Black employees out of about 35 in City Hall, and one of them is the janitor. The highest-ranking Black man on the city payroll is a meter reader. About 99 percent of white students in the town attend a small private school that I believe has maybe three or four Black students in athletics now.”

In an interview with WFXL-31, a local Fox affiliate, Davis called the city’s practices “dehumanizing” and “an embarrassment to our city.”

Segregationist policies continue even after death. According to Davis, a fence divides local Oakview Cemetery, separating where whites and Blacks are buried. And the “Black” side is poorly maintained. While not a “written policy,” the practice has been in place for years.

“All Blacks that have ever been buried are buried there,” Davis told WFXL. “There are no records, so if you had a relative that was buried on that side, unless someone could show you were their body is buried, you would never find out.”

Davis detailed the city’s problems further in a lengthy Facebook post on Sunday.

City Manager Bennett Adams disputed most of Davis’ claims. But according to Davis, the city manager is part of the problem:

“We have a white city manager who exercises, carte blanche, all decisions regarding city hires — police chief, the fire chief, all employees; they all report to him. His decisions are final, he does not need approval. If I need a paper clip, I have to ask him for the paper clip,” Davis said to CBS Atlanta.

Despite the city’s majority-Black population, the current voting districts are designed to ensure whites are overrepresented on the Council. And even though there are Black members, they are largely inactive.

“They never make proposals, they never ask questions, they vote consistently with the white members. I looked at the minutes of our [Black] City Council members over the last 10 years, and there has never been a situation where they said anything on a substantive issue, and that’s just how far I went Back,” Davis shared with The Root.

Davis was pushed to begin his peaceful protest after Adams proposed a new city charter that would essentially remove what little power Davis currently has over the city.

“If you have this kind of record of invidious discrimination … if this kind of power was given, it would damage the community for years to come,” he told The Root.

Davis has teamed up with civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump to raise awareness about Camilla’s racial divide and urge for change. Crump represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice. He is currently representing Corey Jones, who was shot and killed by a plainclothes police officer while he stood on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.

“This is nothing more than the work of crafty individuals who are trying to turn back the clock of time to a deeply flawed period in our history,” Crump said in a statement. “I will use every legal resource available to assist Mayor Davis in desegregating Oakview Cemetery, and to ensure that all the residents of Camilla are treated with the dignity, equality and respect they deserve.”

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

Latest News

degeneres, work, show

Leadership Lessons to be Gleaned from Ellen DeGeneres’ Toxic Workplace Scandal

Ellen DeGeneres began her daytime talk show’s 18th season with an apology after a summer of allegations against her that claimed her show promoted a toxic work environment rife with racism, sexual misconduct and other mistreatment. In August 2020, three senior producers — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman…

COVID entrepreneur

Explosive New Growth in Small Businesses Due to COVID-19; America’s Police Force is Not Becoming More Diverse Despite BLM Movement; the Best and Worst Performing States in the 2020 Census; and More

Even with incredible nationwide unemployment rates, the creation of new small and diverse businesses has exploded due to COVID-19. Finally some news coming out of our pandemic: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that as bars and restaurants closed and stay-at-home orders were put into place earlier in 2020 to help fight…

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…

IBM, EEOC, age

EEOC Unearths Years of Intentional Age Discrimination within IBM

After a long investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revealed that IBM leaders had directed managers to replace older workers with younger ones. Between 2013 and 2018, nearly 86% of those considered for layoffs within the organization were older employees over the age of 40. The investigation showed…

Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the…

ginsburg, supreme, court

The Lasting Legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Plus the Four Biggest Issues Currently at Stake Following Her Death

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the nation’s highest court for 27 years, passed away Friday, Sept. 18 at the age 87. “As the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed…