In this WSB newsfilm clip from November 14, 1960, white demonstrators protest the integration of William J. Frantz elementary school in New Orleans, Louisiana. The clip's image quality is inconsistent; some images may appear washed out.
The clip begins with federal marshals escorting Ruby Bridges, an African American first grade student to William J. Frantz school. In the background a woman shouts, "They've got places for you." More demonstrators are heard yelling at the students; one screaming woman holds her child in her arms. New Orleans policemen stand between the women and the street, preventing them from approaching the school. Another mother prompts her child to tell a reporter "We don't want to integrate." The child turns into his mother to cry.
In 1956 Federal judge J. Skelly Wright overturned New Orleans school segregation laws and ordered the Orleans Parish school board to submit an integration plan. After four years of delay, caused in part by pressure from the Louisiana state legislature, the school board agreed to a grade-a-year integration plan beginning with the first grade in November 1960. The board asked African American parents to submit applications to transfer their children to white schools. From the 135 applications received, the board selected four girls to attend William Frantz and McDonogh 19 schools in New Orleans' poor Ninth Ward. Officials from Norfolk, Virginia, who had already undergone court-ordered integration, warned Orleans Parish school board members not to begin desegregation with poor schools. Parents from two New Orleans elementary schools in more affluent sections of the city also volunteered their schools for integration. The board's decision to ignore the advice and integrate Ninth Ward schools caused extra tension among local parents. Many parents felt their children were being sacrificed to integration and resented that the children of school board members, community leaders, and even judge Wright still attended segregated schools. While the school board did not disclose which schools were to be integrated November 14, the presence of police cars in front of the schools tipped off demonstrators. Many of the demonstrators were mothers who brought their children with them. The women, nicknamed the "cheerleaders" by the press, came to the schools every morning and afternoon through the school year to yell, throw eggs and tomatoes, and spit at the girls as they walked to and from school, escorted by federal marshals.
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 white demonstrators protesting the court-ordered integration of schools in New Orleans, Louisiana, 1960 November 14, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0759, 49:51/50:28, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.