The Public Gathering Prohibition â€“ The Bloody Legacy of the Camilla Massacre The murderous events of a September day in 1868 continue to punish Georgians who violate the prohibition from possessing a firearm or knife at a â€œPublic Gatheringâ€. In 1868, a newly elected General Assembly convened. There were 186 white legislators and 26 black legislators. They ratified the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution which granted citizenship to blacks and declared that no state was to deprive them of "life, liberty, or property." This action permitted Georgiaâ€™s readmission to the Union. Once Georgia was readmitted, the white members of the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate expelled the black members on the grounds that the state constitution did not recognize the right of black citizens to hold office. Following the expulsion, violence, and intimidation increased against Blacks and their Republican supporters. On September 19, 1868, several hundred blacks and Republicans marched 30 miles from Albany, Georgia to Camilla Georgia for a political rally in support of the removed black Legislators and presidential candidate Ulysses Grant. The Mitchell County Sheriff organized a heavily armed force to intercept the marchers and prevent the Republican rally from occurring. When the marchers arrived at the courthouse square in Camilla, the white residents opened fire, killing at least thirteen of the marchers and wounding nearly forty. As the retreating and wounded marchers returned to Albany, the hostile white residents pursued them with dogs and assaulted them for several days. The historical record is contradictory about whether the blacks were armed or not. The Bureau of Freedmen claimed that the marchers were unarmed. However, the Legislatureâ€™s â€œofficial accountâ€ claimed they were. This event has become known as the Camilla Massacre. Two years later in 1870, the General Assembly prohibited the possession of guns at â€œpublic gatheringsâ€. As defined by the Law, this prohibition would only apply to the marchers, not the Sheriff and white supremacist shooters. In addition, this law would have applied to the Civil Rights Marchers of the 1960â€™s. Since the Police and power establishment were all white, we can be sure the only Blacks were prosecuted under this law.