Article Lead Image

Atlanta newspaper congratulates lottery winner with racist tweet

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution isn’t revealing much about this slavery joke.


Fernando Alfonso III

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 23, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 3:34 am CDT

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution isn’t revealing who posted this racist tweet—or why the newspaper made a slavery joke to congratulate a lottery winner.


The tweet was to commemorate Willie Lynch’s $1 million win earlier this month. Lynch, of Powder Springs, Ga., purchased the winning ticket for $20 from the Sharp Shell gas station in Lithia Springs. Not only did it take the newspaper nearly two weeks to run a short story on Lynch’s big win, it decided to send out the most offensive tweet of the day.

The phrase “40 acres and a mule” was coined in 1865, two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves living in Confederate states that were still in rebellion. Gen. William T. Sherman issued Special Field Orders No. 15 on Jan. 16, granting “each freed family 40 acres of tillable land on islands and the coast of Georgia.” Sherman also provided these families mules. Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment on Feb. 1, 1865, abolishing slavery across the entire country.

The Journal-Constitution has since deleted the tweet and apologized for it.

The AJC apologizes for & deeply regrets the tweet that was posted earlier today. We are working to address this situation internally.

— AJC (@ajc) October 23, 2013

H/T Jim Romenesko | Illustration by ateliertoepfer/Flickr

Share this article
*First Published: Oct 23, 2013, 4:22 pm CDT