Patrick Phillips, a Guggenheim and NEA Fellow, is also the author of three poetry collections including Elegy for a Broken Machine, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. His other honors include a Pushcart Prize and the Lyric Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America. Phillips lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Drew University.
Forsyth County, Georgia, at the turn of the 20th century, was home to a large African American community that included ministers and teachers, farmers and field hands, tradesmen, servants, and children. But in September of 1912, three young black laborers were accused of raping and murdering a white girl. Followed by tirades of violence, terror, and arson, the 1,098 black citizens in the community were forced out of the county, and the whites harvested the crops and took over the livestock of their former neighbors, quietly claiming “abandoned” land. Blood at the Root is a sweeping American tale that recounts the crushing injustice of Forsyth’s racial cleansing, breaking a century-long silence and uncovering a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America in the 21st century.