In this WSB newsfilm clip possibly from August 1960, Orleans Parish School Board president Lloyd Rittiner speaks to a reporter in New Orleans, Louisiana, about attempts to avoid compliance with the court-ordered school desegregation.
The clip begins with an unnamed reporter interviewing school board president Lloyd Rittiner. The men stand in a room with bookshelves lining brick walls. The room is dark and the men appear to be illuminated by a spotlight. The reporter asks Rittiner if Governor Jimmy Davis can ignore court rulings and legally open New Orleans schools on a segregated basis; Rittiner responds that while he hopes the governor can do so, he has to be practical and doesn't think it is possible. The reporter then asks what will happen if the governor tries to open segregated schools. Rittiner indicates that the consequences of trying to open segregated schools depend on whether or not the governor is notified of upcoming trials. He explains that if the governor or the school board tries to ignore the ruling, they risk being held in contempt of court.
On May 16, 1960, federal judge J. Skelly Wright ordered the Orleans Parish School Board to begin a grade-a-year desegregation plan beginning with the first grade that fall. In response, on August 17, Governor Jimmy Davis seized control of the Orleans Parish schools by acting under a state law passed earlier in the year. That same day, thirty-one white parents filed suit asking the court either to nullify the desegregation order or to prevent the state government from interfering with the school system. They also asked that the court prevent the state from enforcing several segregation laws described as "an evasion scheme designed to nullify school desegregation orders." On August 27, a three-judge federal court returned control of the New Orleans schools to the Orleans Parish School Board and enjoined the governor and any other state official from interfering with the schools. Two New Orleans elementary schools, William Frantz and McDonogh 19, were integrated by four African American girls on November 14.
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.