In this WSB newsfilm clip from September 3, 1962, Ku Klux Klan members attend a rally in Albany, Georgia, and listen to Georgia Grand Dragon Calvin Craig condemn Georgia governor Ernest Vandiver for his compromises on issues of racial segregation. The clip begins with images of a burning cross and men wearing Klan robes, some with their faces covered. Next, Grand Dragon Calvin Craig, wearing a dark robe with a dragon symbol, asks why Governor Vandiver did not prosecute African Americans who injured several white people during a march that turned violent, presumably the night march that took place on July 24. Craig proposes that Governor Vandiver made a deal with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to not prosecute those involved in the violence in exchange for African American votes for gubernatorial candidate Carl Sanders. Sanders ran as the opponent of Marvin Griffin, a staunch segregationist and former governor of Georgia in the Democratic primary; voters favoring segregation would likely have supported Griffin. Craig then denounces Vandiver for conspiring "with the Negroes to promote communism here," alleging that the governor hid information from the people of Albany, "that these Negro leaders have a subversive background and are being dominated by communist forces." Some civil rights activists had previous affiliation with the Labor movement, and through this the Communist party; Stanley Levison, a key advisor of Dr. Martin Luther King, and Jack O&'Dell, the manager of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)'s New York office, were both affiliated with the Communist party in the 1950s. However, most movement leaders had severed ties with the Communist party years before becoming involved in the civil rights movement or had never been affiliated with communists. Segregationists distorted these previous affiliations as subversion, an effective strategy to malign civil rights activists as unpatriotic; to discourage sympathy for the movement; and to employ the investigative and law enforcement power of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to closely monitor civil rights groups. The Klan rally was held at private property south of the city of Albany, with participants from Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. An estimated three thousand people attended the event.
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.
Local identification number: Clip number: wsbn37218