Blakely, Georgia
Early County Courthouse in Blakely
Early County Courthouse in Blakely
Peanut Capital of the World
Location in Early County and the state of Georgia
Location in Early County and the state of Georgia
Coordinates: 31°22′36″N 84°56′2″W / 31.37667°N 84.93389°W / 31.37667; -84.93389
CountryUnited States
 • MayorTravis Wimbush
 • Total17.66 sq mi (45.75 km2)
 • Land17.55 sq mi (45.46 km2)
 • Water0.11 sq mi (0.29 km2)
262 ft (80 m)
 • Total5,371
 • Density306.02/sq mi (118.15/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code229
FIPS code13-08536[2]
GNIS feature ID0331185[3]

Blakely is a city and the county seat[4] of Early County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 5,068.[5] It is located approximately halfway between Columbus and Tallahassee, Florida on U.S. Route 27.


Blakely was platted in 1825 as the county seat for Early County.[6] It was named for Johnston Blakeley, an officer in the War of 1812.[7] Between 1881 and 1947 at least seven African-Americans were lynched in Blakely,[8] including at least two veterans. One of these, Wilbur Little, was murdered upon returning from service in World War I by whites who detested seeing a negro in uniform.[9] In 1960 an African-American veteran from New Jersey who was traveling through the county was convicted of rape and sentenced to death 3 days after his arrest in a trial that featured no defense counsel and no jury. The story was chronicled in the movie Fair Game.A month after the article appeared in the Chicago Defender the NAACP sent Monroe N. Work to Blakely to investigate the incident. On June 7, 1919, Work sent a telegram to NAACP officer J.R. Shillady stating "Have investigated report. Blakely, Georgia, lynching does not appear to have occurred [sic]." Work concluded his investigation by recommending that allegations of a lynching be dropped.[10] However, further review by the organization found that it had in fact occurred.[11][12]


Blakely is located at 31°22′36″N 84°56′2″W / 31.37667°N 84.93389°W / 31.37667; -84.93389 (31.376728, -84.933873).[13] The city is located in southwestern Georgia along U.S. Route 27, Georgia State Route 62, and Georgia State Route 39. Blakely is located approximately 75 mi (121 km) south of Columbus, 48 mi (77 km) southwest of Albany, and 76 mi (122 km) northwest of Tallahassee, Florida and 24 miles northeast of Dothan, Alabama.

According to the United States Census Bureau, this town has a total area of 17.6 square miles (46 km2), of which 17.5 square miles (45 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.74%) is water.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

2020 census

Blakely racial composition[15]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 1,444 26.89%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 3,706 69.0%
Native American 12 0.22%
Asian 32 0.6%
Other/Mixed 113 2.1%
Hispanic or Latino 64 1.19%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 5,371 people, 1,584 households, and 1,065 families residing in the city.

2000 census

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 5,696 people, 2,060 households, and 1,413 families residing in this town. The population density was 326.0 inhabitants per square mile (125.9/km2). There were 2,251 housing units at an average density of 128.8 per square mile (49.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 38.34% White, 59.97% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.54% of the population.

There were 2,060 households, out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 29.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.25.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 31.9% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 81.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,250, and the median income for a family was $24,107. Males had a median income of $24,861 versus $16,116 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,012,922. About 29.6% of families and 33.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 50.7% of those under age 18 and 22.7% of those age 65 or over.


The Peanut Corporation of America had a factory in Blakely that produced peanut paste (which is in turn used by other manufacturers in other foods). FBI and FDA officials said the plant's officials and workers were suspected of spreading salmonella bacteria in 2007-2009 by knowingly allowing products that had tested positive to be re-tested as negatives (giving a false-negative second result) and then allowing them to be shipped out despite the fact they could have been positive. This likely contributed to numerous illnesses and at least eight deaths. As a result, the FDA and FBI became involved, leading a U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation. Several lawsuits were filed by victims' relatives, and a massive nationwide recall of many products took place. The company shut the plant and laid off all of the plant's roughly 50 employees for the duration of the investigation, which caused economic hardship for the town during the 2009 recession.

The non-profit group Early County 2055 established its headquarters on Court Square in Blakely. Funding for the long-term development plan for the revitalization of the city and county was led by the Charles Rice Family and Foundation.

Blakely is the base of the Early County School System, which has a newly renovated football stadium and gymnasium. Blakely also opened a new sportsplex, named in memorial and honor of local coach Ray Knight. It has multiple softball, baseball, and multi-purpose fields, and is operated by the Blakely-Early County Recreation Department.


Early County School District

The Early County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of one elementary school, a middle school, and a high school.[16] The district has 156 full-time teachers and over 2,764 students.[17]

Alternative School

Notable people

Wilbur Little, lynching victim.

Kyle Riley: Mixed Martial Arts Fighter/ Boxer, NFC

Shawn Williams: Football, University of Georgia, NFL

Tay Cody: Football, Florida State University, NFL

Kyle Davis: Basketball, Auburn University

Dr. Alex Howell: Basketball, Auburn University

Actress Joanne Woodward: Her father was superintendent of Blakely schools

Charles Rice: Founder of Barton Protective Services, the world's largest security company


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. ^ Bureau, U.S. Census. "American FactFinder - Results". Archived from the original on 2020-02-12.
  6. ^ Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-915430-00-2.
  7. ^ Hellmann, Paul T. (May 13, 2013). Historical Gazetteer of the United States. Routledge. p. 221. ISBN 978-1135948597. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  8. ^ "THE LYNCHING PROJECT: EARLY COUNTY". Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  9. ^ Wilkerson, Isabel, The Warmth of Other Suns : The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, p. 145, ISBN 978-1-4915-4542-3, OCLC 881023508, retrieved 2020-07-18. Cites "Army Uniform Cost Soldier His Life," Chicago Defender, April 5, 1919, p. 1.
  10. ^ "Memory of Georgia lynching lives on in Bayonne". 14 February 2019.
  11. ^ Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt (July 1919). The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races. Vol. 18. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. p. 155.
  12. ^ Mikkelsen, Vincent (2007). Coming from Battle to Face a War: The Lynching of Black Soldiers in the World War I Era (PDF) (PhD). Florida State University College of Arts and Sciences. pp. 139–140. S2CID 161488986. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-02-27.
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2021-12-17.
  16. ^ Georgia Board of Education[permanent dead link], Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  17. ^ School Stats, Retrieved June 8, 2010.
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