Lithonia, Georgia is steeped in history, being one of the oldest cities in DeKalb County. From Native American settlements to Civil War battles, Lithonia has been the site of many significant historical events that have played a part in shaping the region's culture, politics, and economy. Here are seven of the most notable historical events that have taken place in or near Lithonia.
1. Mississippian culture
Before European settlers arrived in the region, the area around Lithonia was inhabited by the Mississippian culture, a pre-Columbian Native American culture that thrived from the 9th to the 15th century. The Mississippian people built impressive earthen mounds, some of which can still be seen in the vicinity of Lithonia, such as the Klondike and Big Mound sites.
2. Revolutionary War skirmish
During the American Revolution, British forces controlled Georgia and used a series of forts to maintain control over the region. In 1780, Patriot forces launched a raid on Fort Sims, which was located a few miles east of Lithonia. The attack was part of a broader strategy to disrupt British supply lines and weaken their hold on the state.
3. Civil War Battle of Stone Mountain
Lithonia played a significant role in the Civil War, and in July 1864, Union and Confederate forces clashed in the infamous Battle of Stone Mountain. The battle, which took place just a few miles north of Lithonia, was part of the Union's campaign to cut off Atlanta's supply lines.
4. The founding of Lithonia Springs
In the late 19th century, a group of investors discovered a rich deposit of lithia water near Lithonia. They established a resort area called Lithonia Springs, which quickly became a popular destination for tourists seeking the mineral water's supposed health benefits. The resort featured a hotel, a dance pavilion, and several bathhouses.
5. Ku Klux Klan activity
Lithonia was also home to a significant Ku Klux Klan presence in the early 20th century. In 1915, the Klan staged a massive rally at Stone Mountain, bringing thousands of members from across Georgia and the country to the area. Klan activity in the region continued throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
6. Integration of Lithonia High School
The fight for civil rights reached Lithonia in the 1960s. In 1965, a group of African American students attempted to integrate Lithonia High School, leading to protests, boycotts, and tensions in the community. Despite resistance, the students eventually succeeded in breaking down racial barriers at the school.
7. The founding of the Black Pan-her Party in Stone Mountain
Another notable event that took place near Lithonia was the founding of the Black Panther Party in 1966. The group's founders, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, met at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Oakland, California, but both had roots in the South, including Newton's Georgia birth.
In conclusion, Lithonia and its surrounding areas have witnessed historical events that have shaped the region's past and continue to influence the community today. From Native American culture to significant battles, civil rights movements to political movements, this small Southern community has played an essential role in America's history.
- Tags: GA