In this WSB-TV newsfilm clip dated 1963, an unidentified Georgia state patrolman, presumably a senior officer, answers questions related to having recently dispatched fifty officers to Savannah in response to events that have taken place there. The audio track on the clip is inconsistent; some portions of the questions posed by the reporter are inaudible.
The first few shots in the clip are silent, and capture the officer from several different angles and distances. In the following portion of the clip which contains audio, the officer responds to a reporter (off-screen) that fifty Georgia State Patrolmen have been dispatched to Savannah; some were called late the previous evening, others early in the morning. The clip breaks to a brief shot of a cameraman looking through a television camera, and back to the officer, who says that he believes that the officers are "fully equipped" for what he describes as "this kind of uprising" with "hand grenades, night sticks, crash helmets, gas masks, and necessary firearms."
In response to a question about whether the officers are capable of dealing with riots (not all of which is audible), the officer explains that some of the patrolmen who have been chosen to handle this event are part of a select group who have received training to address strikes and similar disturbances; he assures that they possess the basic training necessary to respond.
Next, the reporter asks if the officers have been enlisted with any special instructions in regards to what he describes as the "trouble" in Savannah. The patrolman replies that they have been given instructions by the officer in charge on the scene; he emphasizes that Georgia state patrolmen will not move into action "until it is apparent that the local law enforcement officers are unable to cope with the situation," and explains that their role is to serve on alert until they are needed. The reporter follows up by asking if law enforcement capabilities in other portions of the state will be impacted by placing so many patrolmen in Savannah; the officer answers that that there is some impact from pulling officers off of traffic enforcement and patrol duty, but overall, there haven't been any significant problems.
At the conclusion of the interview, the reporter steps into the camera frame and asks the officer to "just sit there for a few more seconds." The camera is then turned off and back on again. In the next shot, the officer is no longer present; the reporter then re-records two of his interview questions, this time inside the camera frame.
During the summer of 1963, African Americans in Savannah, Georgia, engaged in numerous confrontational civil rights demonstrations to desegregate the city; these were led primarily by the Savannah National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Chatham County Crusade for Voters (CCCV). Savannah mayor Malcolm MacLean requested state troopers from Georgia governor Carl Sanders; the governor also placed the National Guard on alert. Fifty state patrolmen were called in on a nine-day assignment that lasted from June 18 to June 26; state troopers were asked to return again during a July 11 riot that took place after a demonstration protesting the arrest of Hosea Williams, head of the CCCV. These demonstrations, where more than five hundred protesters were jailed, finally compelled white business leaders to agree to a wide-spread desegregation plan that went into effect on October 1, 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.