Hogansville considers civil rights marker for postman

Published 6:14 pm Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Hogansville City Council heard last week from Tony Lowe, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, about former Hogansville postmaster Isaiah Lofton, who served in that role during the 1890s.

Lowe spent countless hours researching Lofton’s story at the Troup County Archives, University of Georgia Historical Newspaper Collections, The Library of Congress Digitized Newspaper Collection, Howard University Law Library Archives and The National Archives.

On Monday, he presented his findings to the council and asked for a civil rights marker to be placed in the spot where Lofton, an African American, was shot in an apparent assassination attempt more than 120 years ago.

Lofton was shot in the arm on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1887. He was at his house with his family when a boy came to his house and asked for a package that had been sent to the post office for a local man.

He walked to the post office and gave the boy the package. On his way back home, three shots were fired at him, with one striking him in the arm. Lowe said Lofton fell and stayed on the ground as his attackers ran off.

“His assailants thought they had finished the job and ran into the night,” Lowe said. “Those were three shots heard across the nation. The next day the news broke.”

Lofton’s appointment as postmaster had been controversial and many in the white community failed to recognize him as postmaster, Lowe said. Many boycotted his office, and he couldn’t find a space in the city’s business district.

Lowe researched how newspapers covered the shooting in the days, weeks and months. Many referred to it as “The Hogansville Affair.”

After three years of service, Lofton was summoned to the White House in 1900 and transferred to work at a post office there. An investigation of the shooting was left up to local authorities, but nobody was ever prosecuted, Lowe said.

Lofton had four sons and a wife and eventually passed away in 1933.

Lowe recommended the council apply for a marker through the Georgia Historical Society.

He also asked the council to recognize the event as a significant moment in the city’s history and for Hogansville to consider added other markers in the future.

The council did not discuss the proposed marker during Tuesday’s meeting, but Mayor Bill Stankiewicz did comment on it after Lowe’s presentation.

“I think you’ll find wide support from the council and this community in what you are trying to accomplish, and I will certainly do what I can to see it come to pass,” Stankiewicz said.