In Atlanta journalist Jim Auchmutey’s first book, the Americus Top quality of ’65 confronts its racist past

Wittkamper in a 1964 Georgia Council on Hr event

Photograph thanks to Greg Wittkamper

For pretty much 30 years, Jim Auchmutey created out an alluring beat in the Atlanta Journal-Metabolic rate, writing highly detailed features about race, religion, history, and food-which appeared to tell an overarching narrative of the items this means to become Southern. In The Year 2006 he covered a tale in regards to a senior high school reunion that is now the topic of his first book, “The Type of ’65: Students, a Divided Town, and also the Lengthy Route to Forgiveness” (Perseus/PublicAffairs). It focuses on Greg Wittkamper, who increased in the Christian commune of Koinonia, only a couple of miles from downtown Americus. Witt-kamper was an instantaneous outsider as he began senior high school in 1961. As well as in his senior year, the very first year of desegregation, he freely supported the couple of black students who enrolled, eventually becoming as persecuted because they were. Forty-one years after graduation, though, something outstanding happened. White-colored classmates who’d harassed and shunned him tracked him lower in West Virginia, writing sincere letters asking him to return to Georgia for any school reunion. This can be a deeply moving story of reconciliation, redemption, and also the infinite convenience of change told with unflinching honesty by Wittkamper and 4 other people from the type of 1965. Some of the classmates ultimately left Americus and broadened their horizons, Auchmutey states. “I don’t think a person always has to physically escape to be able to change. However I think you need to escape inside your mindset.”

Auchmutey on…

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A great story

Initially when i first reported around the reunion, I understood it had been special. I most likely got more response to it than any story I ever authored in the AJC that didn’t involve cats.


The ending is exactly what gives people hope. You are able to change. And individuals can heal and be better.

Leading by example

An instructor, Gladys Crabb, often see that which was happening. But she understood these youthful individuals who were heckling Greg-or waiting-had some potential and a few good inside them. She understood she couldn’t just preach she’d to guide them.

Around the calendar On March 31 Jim Auchmutey reads in the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.

This short article initially made an appearance within our March 2015 issue made an appearance underneath the headline “Class Reunion.”