In this WSB newsfilm clip from November 16, 1960, white demonstrators protest court-ordered school desegregation, city and state officials discourage demonstrations, and injured bystanders wait at the hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana; in Baton Rouge, legislators welcome a congressional delegation and speak in favor of segregation.
The clip begins in New Orleans with white demonstrators in cars driving down the street; one boy hangs out of a car window and waves a flag. A group of white protesters stand in front of New Orleans city hall and chant "Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate." After a break in the clip, another group of demonstrators stands in the city's downtown shopping district with picket signs. Police and firemen turn on a hose and begin to spray the crowd; most of the demonstrators rush back from the hose although a few appear to play in the water. Two policemen carry an angry demonstrator, and groups of teenage protesters run down the street and are later held back by police.
During a brief night scene, police cars drive past with their lights on while other officers appear to try and put out a fire. Other men examine a rocket on the side of the road. The clip breaks again and returns to a daytime scene. More police cars and police motorcycles drive down the street. Law enforcement officers walk toward city hall. Teenage demonstrators hold flags and chant segregation slogans. Several policemen in dark uniforms stand in a line with their backs to the camera; demonstrators appear to face the policemen. Back in the shopping district, teenage demonstrators dance in the water as officials use hoses to try and disperse the students. Afterwards the clip shows several scenes of groups of demonstrators running down the street.
Next, New Orleans mayor deLesseps Morrison, standing in front of a United States flag, urges parents to keep their children inside at night in an attempt to prevent further rioting in the city. Following Mayor Morrison's comments, the camera shows nurses in a hospital treating white and African American patients who were injured during the demonstrations; the patients lay on gurneys in the hallway. Later in Baton Rouge, an unidentified legislator proposes that in order to lessen the impact of court-ordered desegregation governments "should be moving to reduce their reliance upon public education and offer all reasonable cooperation to parents who wish to provide for the education of their children in private schools." He goes on to suggest that such action will facilitate an orderly transition. While he recognizes that private schools will require a lot of work and financial support, he feels it is the best way to ensure "separate schools for white children." Another unidentified legislator introduces members of the Louisiana congressional delegation. At the request of the state legislature, United States senator Russell B. Long and Representatives Overton Brooks, Edwin E. Willis, Harold B. McSween, and F. Edward Herbert came to Baton Rouge to confer with state officials on the court-ordered integration of New Orleans schools. After a break in the clip, reporters appear to interview Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis, who also urges New Orleans residents upset by the school integration to let the legislature fight against desegregation.
The clip ends back in New Orleans with another segment of white students protesting integration, shouting and chanting segregation slogans. Some images from earlier in the clip are repeated, including police vehicles and officers lined up with their backs to the camera. Police lead an agitated white woman away. More students demonstrate, yelling and waving flags. A large crowd walks towards the downtown area, yelling and cheering. Policemen on motorcycles drive down the street while other officers stand along the sidewalk and keep the crowd back. Demonstrators walking past the camera shout and wave as they pass. Officers lead a white man away from the crowd. Firemen pull out a hose and later spray demonstrators as they chant, "Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate" and dance in the water. The camera focuses on a young woman who tries to encourage the crowd. More images are repeated from earlier in the clip including police leading a man away from the crowd and police pushing the crowd back. Two young men fill their shoes with water that they later fling at the line of policemen and firefighters before two policemen lead them away. A sign on the back of a police motorcycle has the slogan, "School's open, drive carefully." The camera pans to the right and focuses on a fireman holding the hose and talking to another officer.
In 1956 federal judge J. Skelly Wright overturned New Orleans school segregation laws. Legal maneuvering by the state legislature and Orleans Parish School Board delayed integration until 1960, when Judge Wright ordered the school board to begin desegregating the first grade that fall. State officials refused to accept the court order and held several special sessions before and after the November 14 integration in an attempt to prevent or reverse desegregation. On Wednesday, November 16, two thousand high school students from nearby Francis T. Nicholls high school left class and marched toward McDonogh 19, one of the integrated schools, chanting slogans against integration. When they were turned back from the school, the crowd marched downtown to city hall and then to the school board headquarters. The demonstrators were eventually dispersed when city officials authorized the use of fire hoses on the crowd. Rioting that evening resulted in twelve assault cases against African Americans; many people ended up in the hospital because of violence.
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 white demonstrators protesting court-ordered school desegregation; city and state officials urging parents to discourage their children from demonstrating; people injured by the demonstrating mob in the hospital; and debates by state legislators, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1960 November 16, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0912, 6:17/12:20, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.