In this silent WSB newsfilm clip from Crawfordville, Taliaferro County, Georgia, on September 25, 1965, African American high school students protest continued segregation of local schools following the transfer of all white students from the local school to schools in neighboring counties; and in Warrenton, Warren County, Georgia, white students enter a school and African American students are prevented from doing so by state highway patrolmen.
The clip begins in Crawfordville, Taliaferro County, Georgia, where African American students held daily protests against white students who avoided school integration by transferring to schools in nearby counties. During the first portion of the clip, white spectators watch as white students gather, wait for, and board three school buses. An African American man, possibly a reporter, takes photographs of the scene, and writes down the name and badge number of a state highway patrolman. White Georgia highway patrolmen observe the scene and keep order.
After a break in the clip, the camera again focuses on the Crawfordville make-shift bus stop. White parents continue to watch the white students and the school buses as they drive away. A man, possibly a plain-clothes officer, leads away the African American man who earlier took pictures. Patrolmen direct the buses as they drive away. After the buses drive away, African American students walk in a line two-by-two down the street; many of the students hold books in their arms. A patrolman in a helmet walks beside the students. Later a line of patrolmen walks slowly down the street.
The clip jumps to what appears to be the high school in Warrenton, Warren County. Several white men surround a car as it pulls up. One man tugs on the handle and unsuccessfully tries to open the car door. The men continue to walk beside the car for a few moments and then it drives further down the street. The school is a one-story building with cars parked in the lot in front. More cars park along the sides of the road in front of the school. African American students are kept in their car by a patrolman. Another group of African American students are escorted back to their car by another patrolman. At one point, the camera focuses on a broken egg on the street.
The clip breaks again and returns to show several cars including a highway patrol car driving down the street or parked along the side of the road. A local policeman in a hat with a gun in his holster stands near a car. Five African American students get out of a car. Later, the same car drives away. Following another clip break, the camera focuses on signs for the city limits of Warrenton and warning of a school crossing. Behind the school crossing sign and later seen on its own is the same one-story school seen earlier. Several buses with signs from Warren County pull up to the school and students get off the bus and enter the building. After another break, a school bus from Taliaferro County pulls up to the school, and white students get off the bus and enter. The bus is followed by highway patrol cars. Patrolmen stand in front of the school. Later, the patrolmen escort African American students from the high school towards cars parked along the road in front of the school. The camera briefly focuses on the hands of a patrolman holding a baton. The clip breaks for a final time and returns to patrolmen standing in the road in front of the school. African American students stand near a patrolman and later walk towards and get in a waiting car. A patrolman sits in the front seat of the car and talks to the students sitting in the backseat. Next the African American students get out of the car and talk to a white man. The patrolmen watch the car as it pulls away. The clip ends with the camera focusing on signs for Warren County, Taliaferro County, and the Crawfordville city limits.
Crawfordville, Taliaferro County, Georgia, a small predominantly African American community,began experiencing racial problems in the spring of 1965. That spring, the local school board refused to renew the contracts of six African American teachers. While the board did not give a reason for refusing to renew the contracts, members of the African American community asserted it was because of the civil rights activities of the teachers. The teachers had advocated the chance for the use of the only gym in the county, located at the white high school, by the county's African American students. Also that spring, eighty-eight African American students applied to transfer from the local African American school to the all-white Alexander Stephens Institute. Although the school was scheduled to desegregate that fall, all of the white students transferred from the Taliaferro County school to schools in surrounding counties. With no white students enrolled in the local school, the county school board closed the white school and sent all of the students who applied for transfer back to Murden High School, the African American high school. Unfortunately, the African American students were not told of these arrangements until after the registration period had passed for the schools in neighboring Greene, Wilkes, and Warren Counties. African American students protested the continued segregation by refusing to attend the local high school, establishing a Freedom School under the direction of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and holding demonstrations every morning at the central location from which white students were transported to schools in neighboring counties. Finally a federal court appointed state school superintendent Claude Purcell to administer the Taliaferro County schools. Purcell ordered schools in Greene, Wilkes, and Warren Counties to admit the African American students who had originally applied for school transfers in Taliaferro County. On November 17, 1965, African American students from Taliaferro County began riding the buses with white students to integrated schools in neighboring counties.
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 African American high school students protesting continued segregation of local schools following the transfer of all local white students to schools in neighboring counties, Crawfordville, Taliaferro County, Georgia; also African American students prevented from entering a school in Warrenton, Warren County, Georgia, 1965 September 25, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0148, 27:50/39:50, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.