Reporter: Moore, Ray, 1922-.
In this compilation WSB newsfilm clip from January 9th through 13th of 1961, Georgia governor Ernest Vandiver reads a prepared statement and answers reporters' questions at press conferences about the University of Georgia's court-ordered integration; Athens mayor Ralph M. Snow reports on a January 11 riot at the university; a reporter interviews students about the university's integration and the January 11 riot; a reporter interviews Mrs. Alice Stancil, one of the first female students at the university; state treasurer George B. Hamilton explains why he is withholding money from the University System of Georgia; lieutenant governor Garland T. Byrd answers reporters' questions; and white women picket in front of the capitol building. The clip's audio breaks several times. Not all comments are completely recorded.
The clip begins with a January 12 press conference during which reporters question governor Ernest Vandiver about a January 11 riot at the University of Georgia. Governor Vandiver reads from a previously issued statement, detailing his reaction to riot events. He cites a memorandum from Colonel William P. Trotter, director of the state Department of Public Safety, regarding details of the evening, as well as a statement by mayor Snow reporting a return to order in Athens. Vandiver says there had been no prior plans for dealing with any potential disturbances. In response, a reporter quotes mayor Snow of Athens who says he warned Colonel Trotter of potential violence. Another reporter asks Vandiver about a statement made by his executive secretary Peter Zack Geer that morning on an Atlanta radio station praising the "character and courage" of students at the riot. Vandiver claims that before making the statement, Geer had been unaware of the rock-throwing the previous evening. Vandiver mentions a temporary restraining order issued Tuesday, January 10 by federal judge William A. Bootle preventing Vandiver from cutting off the university's funding and a subpoena received by state treasurer George B. Hamilton. After a reporter questions Vandiver about statements made by Board of Regents member Roy V. Harris, Vandiver remarks that he "belongs to that rapidly growing body of our citizenry who does not engage in an exchange of statements with Roy Harris." The reporters laugh. Vandiver refuses to talk about future events such as the possible return of the African American students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes and the results of the injunction hearing. Vandiver responds to questions about road and school legislation, including House Bill 174.
The clip also includes a public statement Vandiver made on January 9 from the Governor's Mansion. The governor reads from a letter he sent to lieutenant governor Garland T. Byrd and to Speaker of the House of Representatives George L. Smith, II. Vandiver explains that a ruling made earlier in the day by federal judge Tuttle of the United States fifth circuit court of appeals ordering the immediate integration of the University of Georgia will cause the school to close. Next, from a press conference elsewhere, Vandiver reads from the Georgia law regarding the responsibility of the governor and local officials to maintain the public peace.
Interspersed with governor Vandiver's comments is a press statement made by Athens mayor Ralph M. Snow. Mayor Snow reports on the January 11 riot and his request to the state patrol for assistance dispersing the rioting crowd. Snow claims that the state patrol was unable to assist because they could not contact their superior officer. Snow states that the city police and local firefighters used tear gas and fire hoses to disperse the crowd and were able to restore order by midnight. He concludes by explaining that by the time the state patrol finally arrived, the situation was already under control, and that his officers were able to preserve order.
Also in the clip, a reporter interviews students at the University of Georgia about the university's integration and the January 11 riot. A university alumnus criticizes riot participants for injuring the United States' reputation internationally. The next student interviewed believes that if African American students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes return to campus, students will try and keep them out. When asked about the possibility that outsiders helped create the previous night's riot, the student says that he believes the students were primarily responsible for the riot. Another student counters saying he saw a lot of non-students at the riot. Terry Hazelwood, student editor at the campus newspaper the Red and Black emphasizes that while many students do not like integration, nothing good can come from violence. He criticizes the "few students who give such a black eye to the university." Hazelwood reports that campus clubs are working to encourage members to be nonviolent and that students are circulating a petition denouncing the riot. Campus leaders plan to submit the petition to the legislature and governor as well as to the appropriate media outlets. In response to Hazelwood's comments, another student questions the worth of petitions and state laws, declaring that "all we have is a federal judge cramming something down our throats." The student estimates that almost three thousand people participated in the riot and that half of the campus is for segregation and only a quarter is for integration. He concludes emphatically that he is for segregation "and I will be until I die." Another student disagrees with the percentages and numbers quoted, feeling instead that the opinions that count are those who take initiative through actions such as signing petitions.
After the person-on-the-street interviews, students gather on campus near Soule Hall and Myers Hall, dormitories on campus. African American student Hamilton Holmes stands near a car, speaking to the driver before the car backs up and leaves. A reporter speaks briefly to Larky Sims, president of Myers dormitory before another student is interviewed about the riot. The young man believes about one thousand people participated in the riot with a lot of "hot heads" and outside help. He thinks there may be more protests, although he doesn't believe they will be as bad.
Next, WSB reporter Ray Moore interviews Mrs. Walter Stancil, one of the early female students on campus, about her experience. Mrs. Stancil, who was knows as Alice Walker during her time at UGA, tells of a time she had asked about a grade in a class she felt was doing well in and was told "for a girl, you did just wonderful." In another instance, the dean of her college told a friend "we just give degrees to women. They are hardly intelligent enough to earn one." Stancil also repeats a comment made to her by Dean Mary D. Lyndon, the first dean of women, who said, "the only foundation for a higher education is a Christian character." Alice Stancil was admitted with several other women to the academic side of the University of Georgia in 1919, the first class of women at UGA. She was active in campus life and became president of the women's student government group. Following graduation, Mrs. Stancil taught school before marrying Walter Stancil and moving to Dalton, Georgia. At the time of the interview, she served as chair of the legislative committee on parent-teacher assocations.
Next, reporter Aubrey Morris interviews state treasurer George B. Hamilton who reads in part from a 1956 appropriations act preventing the state from funding integrated schools. Because of the court-ordered integration of the University of Georgia, Hamilton explains that he is holding over two million dollars from the University System of Georgia until he is told what money will be used by the University of Georgia and what money will go to other still segregated schools.
Also in the clip, reporters speak to lieutenant governor Garland T. Byrd; Vandiver is seen in a January meeting with legislatures and members of the Board of Regents. Outside the capitol building women picket against the university's integration. State senator Carl Sanders from Augusta is seen briefly standing at a microphone; his comments are incompletely recorded. The clip finishes with the final remarks of Athens mayor Snow.
African American students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes first applied to the University of Georgia in the summer of 1959 but were denied, according to the university, based on lack of space. After several other unsuccessful applications, lawyers Donald Hollowell, Horace T. Ward, and Constance B. Motley filed a federal lawsuit against the university on behalf of the students. On January 6, 1961, federal judge William A. Bootle ordered the university to admit the students and to stop rejecting applicants solely based on race. Governor Vandiver and state officials responded by citing the 1956 appropriations act preventing the state from funding integrated schools. Judge Bootle issued a temporary restraining order against Vandiver on January 10 preventing him from cutting off university funding and on January 13 declared the appropriations act unconstitutional. After a basketball game the evening of January 11 in which the University of Georgia lost to Georgia Institute of Technology, students rioted outside of Myers Hall, the dormitory where Hunter lived. The university suspended Hunter and Holmes "for their own protection" and sent them back to Atlanta that evening. Judge Bootle ordered the students readmitted January 13, and they returned to campus January 16.
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 statements by Georgia governor Ernest Vandiver, Athens mayor Ralph M. Snow, Georgia state treasurer George B. Hamilton, lieutenant governor Garland T. Byrd, and Mrs. Alice Stancil regarding integration of the University of Georgia, Georgia, 1961 January, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0048, 00:00/38:03, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.