In this WSB newsfilm clip from Atlanta, Georgia on March 9, 1960, Georgia governor Ernest Vandiver and Atlanta mayor William B. Hartsfield respond to "An Appeal for Human Rights," a full-page advertisement published in each of the Atlanta daily newspapers by the All-University Student Leadership Group, a student-led civil rights organization. The clip's audio breaks out at several points; comments by individuals may not be completely recorded. The clip begins with governor Ernest Vandiver's critical response to "An Appeal for Human Rights." Referring to the advertisement as a "left-wing statement," Vandiver calls upon "those who would cause hatred, strife, and discord" in Atlanta and in Georgia to stop their actions which he believes will benefit no one. Next, Atlanta mayor William B. Hartsfield responds to the same document and calls Atlanta "a city too busy ... to hate." He expresses appreciation for the advertisement as it lets "the white community know what others are thinking." After Hartsfield's statements, governor Vandiver further condemns "An Appeal for Human Rights," citing "the same overtones which are usually found in anti-American propaganda pieces" as evidence that it was not written by college students. Chastising the students who published the statement for not recognizing and respecting their privilege of a college education, Vandiver outlines the benefits enjoyed by African American teachers and students in Georgia. Vandiver charges that only increased and expanded job opportunities can raise the state's standard of living. He emphasizes the individual's responsibility to achieve "opportunity and acceptance in society" through innovation, accomplishment, imagination, ability, and a willingness to work. Groups, he believes, cannot increase opportunity or acceptance through "unorthodox and unacceptable" methods such as sit-ins and other acts of civil disobedience. Vandiver rejects the implication of inequality in Atlanta by listing the opportunities available to African Americans in the city and by claiming that it possesses the largest black middle class in the world. After citing these examples, Vandiver decries the "so-called paid advertisement" as false and the students as hypocrites. The clip concludes with more comments by mayor Hartsfield. Hartsfield recognizes that some citizens feel the city has moved to slowly in race relations but that others feel the city has moved too quickly. He believes the city has worked to "move in the right direction." Hartsfield echoes his appreciation of the advertisement expressing legitimate feeling from the African American student community. He praises the "promise of nonviolence and of a peaceful approach." The clip ends by repeating Hartsfield's comments about the city's desire to move in the right direction. After the February 1, 1960 student-led sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, students at the Atlanta University Center, a consortium of six historically African American colleges in Atlanta, began organizing segregation protests in Atlanta and formed the All-University Student Leadership Group. On March 9, 1960, the group published "An Appeal for Human Rights," a full-page paid advertisement in all of the city's daily newspapers. The next Tuesday, March 15, the students began organized sit-ins and protests in several downtown locations.
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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 governor Ernest Vandiver and mayor William B. Hartsfield responding to the full-page advertisement "An Appeal for Human Rights" published in newspapers by a student civil rights group in Atlanta, Georgia, 1960 March 9, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0919, 49:52/58:10, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.