Forsyth County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2000, the population was 98,407. The 2007 Census Estimate shows a population of 158,914 Its county seat is Cumming, Georgia.
This county is a part of the Atlanta metropolitan area (Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area).
Forbes.com named it as the 13th richest county in the US for 2008.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, the county has a total area of 247 square miles (641 km²), of which, 226 square miles (585 km²) of it is land and 22 square miles (56 km²) of it (8.72%) is water.
- Dawson County, Georgia to the north, across a line of latitude
- Hall County, Georgia to the east, across Lake Lanier (former thalwegs of Chattahoochee River, up into Chestatee River)
- Gwinnett County, Georgia to the southeast, across Chattahoochee River and Buford Dam
- Fulton County, Georgia (formerly Milton County until 1932) to the southwest, across an irregular line (not following a ridge or stream), and a line of longitude
- Cherokee County, Georgia to the west-northwest, across the same line of longitude
Cities and towns
As of the census
of 2000, there were 98,407 people, 34,565 households, and 28,101 families residing in the county. The population density
was 436 people per square mile (168/km²). There were 36,505 housing units at an average density of 162 per square mile (62/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.05% White
, 0.70% Black or African American
, 0.25% Native American
, 0.80% Asian
, 2.01% Pacific Islander
, 2.27% from other races
, and 0.93% from two or more races. 2.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino
of any race.
There were 34,565 households out of which 41.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 71.90% were married couples living together, 6.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.70% were non-families. 14.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.12.
The age distribution was 27.90% under the age of 18, 6.10% from 18 to 24, 37.10% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 7.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 102.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.60 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $68,890, and the median income for a family was $74,003. Males had a median income of $50,862 versus $32,112 for females. The per capita income for the county was $29,114. About 3.90% of families and 5.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.60% of those under age 18 and 10.20% of those age 65 or over.
Forsyth County was created in 1832 from a partition of the Cherokee County territory, which had been formed from the Cherokee Nation East the previous year. Forsyth County was named for John Forsyth, Governor of Georgia from 1827-1829 and Secretary of State under Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.
Besides being one of the fastest growing counties in the USA (2000 census), Forsyth County is also known for several racist incidents which occurred in its past. Such incidents occurred at various times throughout the 20th century.
The 1910 census listed the racial makeup as "10847 white, 658 black, and 440 mulatto
", classifying just over 10% of the population as of or partially of African-American descent. However, in 1912 the entire African-American population was driven from the county.
More ethnically diverse citizens have begun in recent years to immigrate to the county, particularly in the affluent southern portion. However the racial tension continues to be a part of the county's image. This was infamously punctuated in January 17
by a march by civil rights
activists in Cumming
, and a counterdemonstration by a branch of the Ku Klux Klan
, some of whom may have been residents of the county, and others who objected to the march, some residents and some nonresidents who attended the march for the purpose of protesting it. According to a story published in the New York Times
on January 18
, four marchers were slightly injured by stones, and bottles were thrown at them. Eight people from the counter demonstration, all white, were arrested. The charges included trespassing and carrying concealed weapons.
Originally, the march was going to be led by Forsyth resident Charles A. Blackburn. Blackburn wanted to dispel the racist image of Forsyth County, where he owned and operated a private school (The Blackburn Learning Center). Blackburn cancelled his plans after he received threatening phone calls. Other whites in nearby counties, as well as State Representative J.E. McKinney of Atlanta and Hosea Williams, who was on the Atlanta City Council, took up the march plans instead.
Civil Rights Activists' Response
The following week, January 24
, approximately 20,000 civil rights activists marched
in Cumming. This occurrence produced no violence, despite the presence of over 5,000 counter-demonstrators, summoned by the Forsyth County Defense League
, largely due to the presence of about 2,000 peace officers and national guardsmen
. Forsyth County paid $670,000 for police overtime
during the political demonstration
. There was considerable public outrage at the costs, particularly since most of the demonstrators on both sides were from outside the county. An interview with Forsyth County Sheriff Wesley Walraven, previous to the second march, is available in A Turn in the South
by Nobel-prize winning author VS Naipaul.
The demonstration is thought to have been the largest civil rights demonstration in the U.S. since about 1970. The unexpected turnout of some 6,000 counter-demonstrators, sixty-six of whom were arrested for "parading-without-a-permit," turned out to be the largest outpouring opposed to the Civil Rights Bill since the Sixties. The counter-demonstration was called by The Nationalist Movement, newly organized in Cumming, by Mark Watts, a local plumber.
The original march had been triggered by an often repeated statement that Forsyth was "a county that warned black visitors not to 'let the sun go down on your head.' " New Georgia Encyclopedia
Marchers arrived on buses from all over the country and formed a caravan from Atlanta, under the watchful eye of National Guard troops on freeway overpasses along the nearly hour-long bus route. When marchers arrived, they discovered that most of the Cumming residents had already left town for the day, and many had boarded up their windows because they feared violence. The mood of the marchers, however, was peaceful and hopeful. The voices of thousands of people singing "We shall overcome" echoed off the empty buildings, as marchers wound slowly through streets lined by hundreds of armed National Guards, many of them black. At least two-thirds of the 20,000 civil rights marchers were white, according to eyewitnesses. Many said the multi-racial turnout showed how the civil rights movement had succeeded, despite the challenge at hand.
Forsyth county subsequently charged large fees for parade permits until the practice was overturned in Forsyth County, Georgia v. The Nationalist Movement (505 U.S. 123) in the Supreme Court of the United States on June 19, 1992.
Today, Forsyth County maintains a large percentage of new homeowners. Due to rapid suburban sprawl and skyrocketing housing prices in neighboring Fulton County a large number of affluent professionals have moved into the county. Over 60% of the current population either lived elsewhere or had not been born yet in 1987.
In 2008 Forsyth County had been in the top ten fastest growing counties of the United States for several years. Many new subdivisions with elegant houses have been constructed, several around world class golf courses. Close to Atlanta and the Blue Ridge mountains and bordering 37,000 acre Lake Sidney Lanier the area has attracted many of the Metro area's new residents. The growth is tempered by water availability and the efforts of several county organizations to make sure growth is planned and sustains the high quality of life in the area.
Forsyth County is served by Forsyth County Schools
The public school system is Forsyth County's largest employer (4,000 employees) and is an integral part of the community. It has experienced great growth over the past decade and is now home to 31,000 students in 30 schools. It is projected by 2013 to grow to over 50,000 students.
Classrooms are technologically-advanced, as the school system places a heavy emphasis on being on the cutting edge of new technology and methods of teaching. Five schools are scheduled to open in 2009, including the fifth high school, Lambert. Ten new schools are projected to open by 2013, among them a sixth high school. There are currently four high schools in Forsyth County: Forsyth Central, North Forsyth, South Forsyth, and the newest, West Forsyth).
Recreation on Lake Lanier, a Army Corp of Engineers lake, on the east side of the county is enjoyed by many residents and attracts non-residents seasonally.
Notes and references
Coal Mountain, Georgia