This silent WSB newsfilm clip from December 1961 in Albany, Georgia, includes shots of a mass meeting in Shiloh Baptist Church; groups of African Americans entering city hall; Albany mayor Asa D. Kelley and police chief Laurie Pritchett each speaking to reporters from their offices; Georgia National Guardsmen gathering at the local armory building; and African American students in the Trailways bus station. The clip begins with police cars driving past Shiloh Baptist Church as groups of African Americans wait outside. Inside the meeting, movement activists sing and clap their hands with the crowd while a woman (possibly Goldie Jackson, Albany Movement corresponding secretary) and later an unidentified man sing from the pulpit; a young man (possibly Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) member Charles Jones) also addresses the congregation. Interspersed with the scenes from Shiloh Baptist Church are shots of African American men and women entering Albany City Hall, often watched by white onlookers, presumably to represent Albany Movement concerns or supporters who may be in jail. They include Jones and attorneys Donald Hollowell and C. B. King. Also in the clip, Mayor Kelley speaks to reporters from his office. Next, footage of the Georgia National Guard Armory, identified by signs on and beside the building, precedes filmed segments that show white guardsmen in uniform exiting parked cars and entering the building; they listen to instructions from a man at a blackboard and collect their supplies from the "Company B" supply room. A man in a helmet holding a rifle stands guard outside the building. On Thursday, December 14, concerned with the increasingly frequent demonstrations, arrests, and the threat of violence, Mayor Kelley requested that Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver send the Georgia National Guard to help restore order in Albany if needed. City and state officials ultimately cooperated to avoid violence and the threat of federal government intervention in Albany. Also in the clip, reporters and cameramen film African American students, probably from nearby Albany State College, Monroe High School, and Carver Junior High School, in the Trailways waiting room; the students buy tickets, read newspapers, and wait at tables in the bus station's dining area. Other African Americans stand in clusters outside the station (including Jones, Hollowell, and C. B. King) and speak to reporters. Next, Chief Pritchett speaks to Norma Anderson, active demonstrator and wife of Dr. William G. Anderson, who is standing with a group of African Americans in "Freedom Alley," a dead-end road beside city hall where demonstrators waited for processing after being arrested. Several students from the bus station watch Chief Pritchett and Mrs. Anderson as they speak. Later, police speak to a white man outside, then lead students from the bus station and help them into the paddy wagon as crowds watch. Finally, Chief Pritchett, back in his office, answers reporters' questions. Earlier in 1961, the federal Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) ruled segregation illegal on interstate buses and trains, and in stations that serviced interstate travelers. Several protests in Albany were directed at the bus station to test Albany's compliance with the ICC ruling which went into effect November 1. During one of those protests on Thursday, December 14, the Trailways terminal restaurant served ten black patrons before it was closed; Albany police then arrested them, allegedly for their own protection. City officials professed compliance with the ICC ruling, but continued to arrest activists for spurious offenses such as failure to obey an officer, disorderly conduct, blocking the sidewalk, and obstructing traffic.
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: Series of WSB-TV newsfilm clips of African American civil rights workers, Georgia National Guardsmen, and city officials in Albany, Georgia, 1961 December, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0911, 8:12/18:56, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.