In this WSB newsfilm clip from November 1960, two reporters interview Reverend Billy Graham about the court-ordered school integration in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The clip begins with an outdoor interview; a reporter in a hat and coat takes notes while Billy Graham stands next to another reporter in front of several microphones. The camera also briefly focuses on three cameramen filming the interview. An off-screen reporter asks Graham about his opinion of the New Orleans school integration crisis. Graham says he regrets the conflict in New Orleans because it hurts the United States' prestige in other countries. He also indicates that he does not believe "what has been happening represents the majority of the people in New Orleans." The reporter standing to Graham's right asks if he wants to "get this integration over with." Graham replies that he supports "those who want to obey law," and "that when a law has been interpreted by the Supreme Court ... it is up to us to obey it." He continues to assert the importance of abiding the law, saying, "I think we are to obey every law of government unless it interferes with our free worship of God."
After several years of legal maneuvering, federal judge J. Skelly Wright ordered the Orleans Parish schools begin integration on a grade-a-year plan beginning in the fall of 1960. In August, four of the five school board officials met with Judge Wright and agreed to the plan, announcing that they would accept applications for school transfers to happen on November 14, 1960. From the 135 applications for school transfers, the school board chose four African American first-grade girls to integrate two schools in the Ninth Ward, a poorer section of New Orleans. The board's action ignored parents from two more affluent schools who volunteered to integrate. It also discredited the advice from officials from integrated Southern communities who warned that integrating poor schools first would upset parents in those schools. William Frantz and McDonogh 19 schools were integrated November 14, 1960. Upset white citizens demonstrated in New Orleans the next two days. Segregationist demonstrators also gathered at the two schools every morning and afternoon the rest of the school year, shouting and throwing things at the African American girls and at any white parents and children who defied the White Citizens' Council's boycott of the schools. Although many white parents from the two schools transferred their children to schools in neighboring St. Bernard Parish, an estimated three hundred elementary school children who should have attended Frantz or McDonogh 19 schools did not attend school during the 1960 to 1961 school year.
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.