Reporter: Brokaw, Tom.
In this WSB newsfilm clip from Americus, Georgia, on July 29, 1965, African Americans demonstrate against segregation and reporter Tom Brokaw interviews city mayor T. Griffin Walker about demonstrations and race relations in Americus. The clip begins with law enforcement officers and cameramen watching African American demonstrators as they march. The demonstrators then stand in a circle in front of the Sumter County Courthouse, where they clap and sing, "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize." Willie Bolden, a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) member working in Americus, addresses the gathering on the local, regional and global manifestations of racial conflict. "All you have to do," he says, "is go into a community and you will find problems when it comes to black-white relationships." Bolden asks the audience and the mayor to engage Americus directly as it remains a source for these problems. After a break in the clip, Mayor Walker responds vaguely to Tom Brokaw's question about plans for a conference with civil rights leaders; he clarifies that any discussions conducted with African Americans will take place with local leaders. When asked about reactions to a white demonstration held at the fairgrounds the previous evening, he conveyed appreciation that the meeting emphasized adherence to the law. Walker explains to Brokaw that some of the African American community demands, such as integrated voting, are county issues over which he has no control as mayor. He dismisses the activist strategy of boycotting white merchants, and announces that the city council will meet as necessary to address concerns. Civil rights demonstrations in Americus took place periodically beginning in the summer of 1963, and lasting through the summer of 1965. On July 20, 1965, four African American women were arrested for attempting to integrate a county-held special election, where the first African American woman candidate in Sumter County was included on the ballot; the arrest revived demonstrations. On July 30, the women were released on order of federal judge W. A. Bootle, and on August 13, demonstrations were halted by the Sumter County Movement, the local civil rights organization.
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.
Local identification number: Clip number: wsbn42203