In this WSB newsfilm clip from January 11, 1961, a crowd standing near the University of Georgia entrance observes the arrival of the first two African American students; students answer a reporter's questions regarding their views of the university's integration; other students riot in response to the integration; and Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes, the two African American students, are welcomed back to Atlanta after being suspended "for their own protection."
The clip begins with a large crowd of white observers seen surrounding the Academic building (known as the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building since 2001), at its rear and then at its front. The crowd begins to move, and the students run on the campus sidewalks. In another shot, students crowd the doorway of the Academic building. In downtown Athens, cars drive through the city; the city's sidewalks are mostly empty. Back at the university, a reporter interviews several male students in front of Brooks Hall; the students' comments are recorded in other clips.
Next in night shots, car headlights, smoke, and lights, possibly from a fire, are seen. Men hook up fire hoses, and others carry a stretcher to a building. A scoreboard says "73 75." A police car with its lights on drives past, and students stand on the sidewalks. Two buildings housing Greek organizations are also seen in the darkness; the first is probably the Alpha Omicron Pi house, and the second may be the Alpha Delta Pi house. On the evening of January 11, 1961 after the University of Georgia men's basketball team lost to Georgia Tech, students began rioting and throwing rocks at Myers Dormitory where Charlayne Hunter lived. Firemen were called out to help the police, and the crowd was eventually dispersed with the use of hoses and tear gas. While Hunter was not injured during the riot, several police officers received minor injuries. University officials suspended Hunter and Holmes "for their own protection," and state troopers drove the two students back to Atlanta.
Later in the clip, Hunter and Holmes are welcomed back to Atlanta and sit on a couch talking to Althea Hunter, Charlayne's mother. Daytime scenes interspersed with the night scenes show Hamilton Holmes and other students walking around campus. In other daytime scenes, students again stand outside the Administration building and later watch as Holmes speaks to a man driving a car and then to a reporter. Holmes also enters a building with an "Infirmary" sign. Inside the administration building, Holmes and Hunter register for classes. Holmes and Hunter are also interviewed by a reporter; in the interview, the two students wear white sweaters. Holmes's sweater has the letters "AP" on the left arm.
Holmes and Hunter first applied to the University of Georgia in 1959. After the university refused to admit the students for several quarters, lawyers for the two filed a federal lawsuit. On January 6, 1961, federal judge William A. Bootle ordered the University to admit the students immediately. After the first day of classes on January 11 and after the University of Georgia's basketball team lost to Georgia Institute of Technology, white students and citizens displeased with the integration rioted outside Myers Hall, Hunter's dormitory, leading to the suspension mentioned above. On Friday, January 13, judge Bootle ordered the students readmitted to the university. Holmes and Hunter completed their studies at the University and graduated in June 1963.
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 integration at the University of Georgia including crowds observing the arrival of African American students, students answering reporter's questions about integration and rioting in protest, and the African American students' return to Atlanta, Atlanta and Athens, Georgia, 1961 January 11, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0920, 44:42/57:23, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.