In this silent WSB newsfilm clip from September 1961, white and African American students attend two integrated schools, Andrew H. Wilson and William Frantz, in New Orleans, Louisiana during the second year of school integration.
The clip begins by showing the sign for William Frantz Public School over a doorway. As the camera focuses on the school building, a police motorcycle drives past. Next, a New Orleans policeman stands on the corner and watches as a white mother walks across the street with her children. The camera then focuses on a police barricade and the policeman standing nearby. Two white mothers walk several children down the sidewalk and into the school building. An African American mother and girl walk past men in suits and a policeman before turning and approaching the building. The camera briefly focuses on a sign for the Andrew H. Wilson Public School before returning to what appears to be the William Frantz Public School. Another African American woman and girl get out of a car and walk towards the school; the African American girl wears a large, white bow in her hair. A white policeman speaks to several white women, one of whom has a child in a stroller. Another white woman stands on the corner and speaks to three white policemen. Behind a chain-link fence several white children play on a merry-go-round. A white woman stands nearby while a white policeman in a helmet watches from the other side of the fence. Next, a white man sits in a lawn chair while across the street, a white policeman speaks to a white woman as they both stand behind a barricade.
New Orleans schools first integrated on November 14, 1960 following several years of legal battles and interference by the state legislature. Officials from Norfolk, Virginia, who had recently undergone court-ordered desegregation, consulted with the Orleans Parish School Board and warned them against integrating poor schools first. A group of New Orleans parents organized the "Save Our Schools" movement to counteract legislative calls for closing the schools and volunteered to integrate the Lusher and Andrew H. Wilson elementary schools. Both the Lusher and the Wilson schools were in more affluent neighborhoods. The Orleans Parish School Board ignored this advice and selected four African American girls to integrate two schools, William Frantz and McDonogh 19, in the poor Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Many parents from the Ninth Ward 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. Segregationist demonstrators, nicknamed the "cheerleaders" by the press, protested at the integrated schools every morning and afternoon, yelling and throwing things at the African American girls and the few white parents and children who ignored the Citizens' Council's boycott of the schools. The second year of integration was much more peaceful, although each school was guarded by sixty specially trained men and barricades were set up to keep unauthorized people a block away from the schools. In the fall of 1961, the Orleans Parish School Board desegregated four more elementary schools: Andrew H. Wilson, Robert M. Lusher, McDonogh 11, and Judah P. Benjamin. According to newspaper reports, the new schools were "in or adjacent to neighborhoods made up largely of substantial, law abiding citizens."
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 students at Andrew H. Wilson and William Frantz elementary schools, two of six integrated schools in New Orleans, Louisiana, 1961 September, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0791, 31:30/32:30, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.