In this WSB newsfilm clip from March 16, 1964, an interracial group of demonstrators protests school segregation in New York City, New York, and Malcolm X speaks in favor of the school boycott.
The clip begins with a crowd of interracial demonstrators standing in front of a building. Other demonstrators walk down the street chanting "Jim Crow must go." What appears to be an effigy is thrown among the crowd as they walk down the street. Later a reporter interviews Malcolm X who is dressed in warm clothes and wears sunglasses. Malcolm X, who earlier that month had announced his departure from the Nation of Islam, criticizes the African American leaders of the Civil Rights movement who try to please both African Americans and whites. He asserts that African American leaders should lead, fight, and work for the satisfaction of African Americans, because "you have to please one or the other."
After the comments by Malcolm X, the camera returns to the protesters who are again marching and chanting "Jim Crow must go." Another group of African Americans sits near an unidentified building and chants in a call-and-response style. Nearby, white people stand with signs around their necks, and policemen in dark uniforms hold batons and block access to a closed door.
Although discussions of school integration had been taking place in New York City since 1954, attempts by the school board to integrate white, African American, and Puerto Rican schools were stymied by large-scale racial housing patterns and by white parents moving their children to private schools or to the suburbs. The school board, reluctant to enforce mandatory busing, was unsuccessful in attempts to integrate schools with voluntary transfer programs. African American community leaders, led by Reverend Milton Galamison, worked with local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to organize a school boycott for February 3, 1964. That day, nearly forty-five percent of students stayed away from school. When the school board did not immediately respond to the boycott, Galamison organized a second boycott for March 16 and began demanding total, immediate desegregation of the schools through the use of wide-spread forced busing. Leaders of the NAACP and CORE felt Galamison had not given the school board time to work out a solution and did not support the second boycott. In contrast, Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell, seen by some as more militant in their approach to civil rights, did support the boycott and Galamison's efforts to force the school board to act. Just over twenty-five percent of students stayed away from school during the second boycott on March 16, approximately half the amount of the first boycott.
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 demonstrators protesting school segregation and Malcolm X speaking in favor of the school boycott in New York City, New York, 1964 March 16, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0802, 21:36/23:00, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.