In this WALB newsfilm clip from Tuesday, July 24, 1962, Albany, Georgia, police chief Laurie Pritchett speaks to reporters from his office regarding an outbreak of violence following the arrest of demonstrators at a night march earlier that evening. Pritchett explains that approximately two thousand African Americans gathered at the intersection of Oglethorpe and Jackson streets, the boundary of the African American or "Harlem" section of Albany, after the demonstrators from the night march were arrested. Concerned with the size of the crowd, Pritchett reports that he led his men and Georgia state troopers (numbering between 160 and 180) into Harlem by rows, two men across, with one row of men on each side of the street. This was the first time police entered Harlem during a civil rights march. Pritchett and his men remained nonviolent, even after two men were injured by objects thrown from the crowd. An Albany officer hit with a bottle was able to stay on the job that evening; however, state trooper Claude Hill from the Tifton area lost two teeth when he was hit in the jaw with a rock. As a result of the violence, police arrested forty African Americans, including twenty-four juveniles and sixteen adults, one of whom was white. The arrested adults were sent to Newton, Baker County, and the juveniles were held in Albany. Pritchett commends the men under his direction for their nonviolent response and demeanor in the Harlem district. When asked to respond about a rumored outbreak of violence in another area of the city, Pritchett indicates that his officers had already checked the area, and found no disturbances. He explains to another reporter that extra law enforcement is not necessary, and that available personnel are sufficient for current needs. Finally, Pritchett commends the citizens of the city, county, and surrounding counties for their cooperation and asks for their continued assistance. After chief federal appellate court judge Elbert P. Tuttle reversed federal district court judge J. Robert Elliott's July 21 temporary restraining order on the Albany Movement, forty African Americans participated in a night march from Mt. Zion and Shiloh Baptist churches on July 24 and were arrested. Violence that erupted in response to that evening's arrest led to the police action described by Pritchett. In response to the incident, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders of the Albany Movement announced the cessation of night marches, declared July 25 a "day of penance," and called for a twenty-four hour moratorium on demonstrations. During the moratorium, leaders actively encouraged nonviolence throughout the African American community.
The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for digital conversion and description of the WALB News Film collection.
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Cite as: WALB newsfilm of police chief Laurie Pritchett speaking to reporters from his office about the outbreak of violence following the arrest of demonstrators at a night march in Albany, Georgia, 1962 July 24, Albany Movement compilation, WALB News Film collection, Albany Movement Compilation Roll 1 [Tape 1], Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Award Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga., as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.