In this WALB newsfilm clip from July 19, 1962, Dr. William G. Anderson, president of the Albany Movement, responds on local television to criticism about the movement, the presence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other clergy and civil rights workers, and the rights of African Americans. After a July 18 presentation on WALB by James H. Gray, owner of WALB television station and local newspaper The Albany Herald, Anderson was given thirty minutes to respond to local criticism directed towards the Albany Movement and ongoing civil rights demonstrations. Anderson refutes the accusation that the Albany Movement was started by "outsiders," contending that it began among Albany residents "as a deeply-felt expression of the hunger for true freedom." The Albany Movement, a consolidation of extant Albany social improvement alliances, included previous incarnations of African American neighborhood organizations and clubs. One club, the Criterion Club, met with Albany mayor Asa Kelly in 1960, which proved unproductive. After November 1, 1961 when civil rights demonstrations intensified, the individual Albany clubs and organizations organized their efforts into the Albany Movement. Anderson continues to explain to the audience that the Albany Movement invited Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) ministers and others to Albany because "freedom is everybody's business." He clarifies that nonresident civil rights activists have come to Albany at their own expense, and have not benefited financially from their stay; emphasizing that they chose such conditions because human dignity is worth more than money. In response to an accusation that the movement lacks concern for Albany's reputation, Anderson reminds viewers that African American residents of Albany do indeed care about the city's reputation, but see no other way to secure justice. He appeals to the goodwill of local citizens by asking them to remember "there are some aspirations in men's hearts which cannot be put off indefinitely" and counts freedom among them. He emphasizes that while the Albany Movement wishes to negotiate with the city, they do not view the police chief Laurie Pritchett, a law enforcement officer, as the proper spokesman in that process. Anderson then asserts that "constitutional guarantees transcend any relationship between the tax burden borne and the full enjoyment of them" and asks if the value and rights of a tax payer are determined by the amount he pays; in doing so, he challenges the injustice of levying taxes upon African Americans but providing fewer privileges and services than are granted to white taxpayers.
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 clip of Dr. William G. Anderson responding on local television to criticism of the civil rights movement in Albany, Georgia, 1962 July 19, Albany Movement compilation, WALB News Film collection, Albany Movement Compilation Roll 4 [Tape 2], Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Award Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga., as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.