In this WSB newsfilm clip from Danville, Virginia, on July 13, 1963, Mayor Julian R. Stinson speaks to an unidentified reporter about recent civil rights demonstrations in the community.
The clip begins with an off-screen reporter asking Mayor Stinson about allegations of police brutality at a civil rights demonstration in June. Mayor Stinson, claiming to be "completely truthful" indicates that the many Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents have not found evidence of police brutality. He somewhat critically reports that the FBI agents were only assigned to Danville for the benefit of local African Americans. The camera pulls back and shows the reporter, seen from behind, interviewing mayor Stinson who is sitting at a desk in front of the city seal. Asked about the possibility of a biracial committee appointed in the city, Mayor Stinson suggests that it would not be helpful to create such a committee. He claims that the city has done "the things that we should be expected to do." The clip breaks and he emphasizes that local businesses including restaurants and hotels are free to integrate their facilities, but that the city will support their decision either way.
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 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, directly following that meeting the city council passed an ordinance severely limiting demonstrations in the community. Demonstrations and court cases continued off-and-on throughout the summer; in October the city appointed its first African American fireman and in until November 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 Mayor Julian R. Stinson speaking to a reporter about recent civil rights demonstrations in Danville, Virginia, 1963 July 13, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0713, 48:38/50:21, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.