In this WSB newsfilm clip from Athens, Georgia on January 9, 1961, the University of Georgia's first two African American students, Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes, arrive on campus to register for classes; two unidentified white students express their opinions regarding the university's integration. The clip begins with a crowd of white students and reporters walking on a campus sidewalk; a few of the students walk on a slope beside the sidewalk. Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter, the university's first two African American students, walk on campus and up the steps of the Academic Building; they are both surrounded by people. Next, a reporter interviews two unidentified (white) students about the university's integration as they stand on the steps of the Academic Building. The first student affirms his belief that open schools, even integrated schools, are the best thing; he expresses that most of the students on campus also prefer open schools and hopes that the Georgia state legislature will vote in agreement with the students. The second student expresses his confidence in the legislature and its ability to choose the school's fate; his preference is to wait and see how the legislature decides to act and adds that he favors keeping schools open on a segregated basis. After these opinions, white students are seen chanting, "Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate." Students and reporters stand at the Arch at the entry to campus. Reporters also interview Hamilton Holmes as he walks on campus. Holmes expresses the desire to pursue a bachelor's degree in science and to continue with his studies; he chose to apply to the University of Georgia because "it is the best school in this region that I could go to." Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes applied for admission to the University of Georgia in 1959; university officials refused to admit the students, citing an insufficient amount of space. Hunter and Holmes both renewed their applications at every opportunity for the next year, without success. In 1960, attorneys for the two students filed a lawsuit in the federal courts, alleging that the University was not admitting the students based solely on their race. On January 6, 1961, federal judge William A. Bootle ordered the University of Georgia to admit the two students immediately. Holmes and Hunter registered for classes on January 9, and matriculated on January 11. Although a 1956 law prevented the state from funding integrated schools, the legislature, led by Governor Ernest Vandiver, chose instead to permit the university's integration rather than close it down.
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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 American students arriving on campus as well as the reaction of white students at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, 1961 January 9, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0779, 45:20/47:10, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.