In this silent WSB newsfilm clip from Danville, Virginia, on July 12, 1963, policemen and state patrolmen arrest African Americans protesting segregation during a night-time march for civil rights.
The clip begins with a white man wearing a suit and hat facing the African American demonstrators and using a megaphone to speak to them. Beside the man are white policemen who also face the protesters. Another policeman walks up to the demonstrators and points; he appears to continue speaking to them as he follows the line of demonstrators down the street and around the corner. The African Americans begin to move forward, and police lead an African American man away. Several officers escort another man down the street. A group of police and state patrolmen walk down the sidewalk and intercept African American female demonstrators and lead the women away by the arm. One African American man is roughly picked off the ground and carried away by three policemen.
Civil rights demonstrations in Danville, Virginia, a community of nearly fifty thousand with a third of the population African American, began on May 31, 1963. Local African American civil rights leaders had tried negotiating with city officials the year before without much success. Although demonstrations were at first peaceful, local judge Archibald M. Aiken issued an injunction banning further racial demonstrations in the city. After Aiken issued the injunction, policemen began arresting demonstrators, and on June 8, three African American leaders were arrested and indicted on charges of "inciting the colored population to violence," a slavery-era law called "John Brown's Law." On June 10, city officials turned high-pressure fire hoses on a small group of demonstrators and then sent in police officers and deputized trash collectors who used night sticks on the demonstrators. Forty-seven protesters were taken to the hospital following the demonstration. Mayor Julian R. Stinson formed a Mayor's Racial Advisory Committee on June 12; the three-man committee was all white. The mayor also announced that he would not negotiate with African American leaders who had been arrested in the civil rights demonstrations, calling them "irresponsible" and "criminals." While an approved group met with the mayor shortly after that, the city council passed an ordinance severely limiting demonstrations in the community. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) visited Danville on July 11 and at a mass meeting attended by 1,200 African Americans that night urged the community to "fill the jails for freedom." Eighty African Americans participated in a demonstration following the meeting and were arrested. Although demonstrations and court cases continued off-and-on throughout the summer, it was not until October that the city appointed its first African American fireman and not until November that the city agreed to a nondiscriminatory hiring policy.
Title supplied by cataloger.
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 WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection.
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Cite as: WSB-TV newsfilm clip of African Americans being arrested following a night-time march for civil rights in Danville, Virginia, 1963 July 11, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0713, 25:10/26:14, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.