In this WSB newsfilm clip from Savannah, Georgia on October 1, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to reporters at a press conference during the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's annual meeting. The audio portion of the clip is inconsistent.
Dr. King announces the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) will focus efforts for the next few months in Alabama and Mississippi where he alleges that some federal judges are using the courts to delay integration. He declares that where possible the SCLC will fight the status quo in the courts and when that is not possible, will use "massive demonstrations to call attention to these problems and to place it again before the forefront of the conscience of the nation." SCLC-led voter registration initiatives in Alabama and Mississippi continued past the 1964 election and included the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama which helped promote the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights bill.
Next King appears to answer a question about civil rights in Albany, Georgia. King affirms that even though civil rights work in Albany in 1961 and 1962 did not end segregation, the city changed and "could never be the same again." He claims that the SCLC planned to return to Albany after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act but upon examination found the city's compliance with the law made a return unnecessary. During the summer of 1961, members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee came to Albany and began encouraging civil rights work. The Albany Movement began that November, bringing together civil rights efforts from existing organizations in the community, and invited SCLC to come to the city the next month. Although the SCLC worked with the local movement through August 1962, they were unable to convince city officials to end segregation in any part of the city at that time.
Later King comments on the summer's riots in Harlem and Rochester and asserts that the riots "grew out of conditions of poverty and the attendant frustration that came to many people....who had lost a sense of hope." Riots in Harlem and Rochester, New York began in July 1964 after the police shooting of an African American young man. City and state officials invited King to try and help ease tensions, but local civil rights workers felt King's presence was an intrusion. A report on the riots issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation head J. Edgar Hoover indicated the riots were isolated occurrences resulting from local conditions.
The camera focuses on King as he sits at a table with SCLC leaders reverends Ralph D. Abernathy and Andrew Young. The clip also shows reporters and cameramen as well as a reel-to-reel recorder. Commenting on the upcoming presidential election between incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson and senator Barry M. Goldwater, King points out that the number of registered African American voters in the South is nearly double the amount during the 1960 presidential election. King recognizes that the nearly two million African American voters in the South can have a significant influence on the election and pledges that the SCLC is working to make sure African Americans vote in the upcoming election. Reverend Abernathy begins to speak but his statement is not completely recorded. The 1964 presidential election concerned SCLC and many other civil rights organizations because of the perception that Senator Goldwater was using the race issue to polarize voters in an attempt to encourage white backlash against the civil rights movement. Although SCLC did not usually endorse political candidates, before the election King clearly stated that he was unable to support Goldwater. Johnson won the election with a large percentage of the vote, except in many of the Deep South states.
Finally King addresses the proposed antipoverty legislation considered by Congress. While King supports measures to fight poverty, he feels the legislation does not provide enough financial support for such efforts. He proposes that five billion dollars a year for ten years might "bring about some of the necessary changes that can begin to get rid of poverty." King believed that economic justice was an important companion to racial justice and many SCLC projects, such as Operation Breadbasket and the 1968 demonstration in Washington D.C. sought to encourage economic balance.
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.