In this silent WSB newsfilm clip from Americus, Georgia, on July 28, 1965, an organized group of mostly African Americans protest day and night for the release of four African American women who were arrested for standing in the "white" line during an election on July 20. The clip begins with a night demonstration where Georgia state highway patrolmen walk beside the marchers, one of whom has her hair in curlers. The march stops at the Sumter County courthouse, where some of the demonstrators, carrying umbrellas and other rain gear, sit on blankets spread along the sidewalk. Law enforcement officers watch the demonstration; they are equipped with helmets and rifles with bayonets. The demonstrators sing, clap their hands, and listen to Reverend Joseph Campbell, leader of the Sumter County Movement, and Reverend Hosea Williams from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Next, during a day march, demonstrators follow a police car, protected by nearby law-enforcement officers. John Lewis, another SCLC minister, speaks to the listening crowd. Protesters carry signs with slogans including, "Charges dropped and election void," "Break the segregation by voter registration," and "Open registration with a Negro registrar or clerk and additional hours." On July 20, four African American women were arrested at a county-held special election for Justice of the Peace; one of the women arrested was Mary Fishe Bell, the first African American political candidate in Sumter County. After the women's arrest, the Sumter County Movement organized three demonstrations daily to protest the arrest of the women and the mishandling of the election, and to draw attention to race relations in Americus. Finally, during another night march, police trail demonstrators, including John Lewis and Hosea Williams, as they gather at Sumter County Courthouse. The protesters again spread blankets on the sidewalk before singing, clapping, and listening to speakers. After ten days of increasing racial tensions and demonstrations, federal judge W. A. Bootle ordered that the incarcerated women be released and that segregated elections end in Sumter County on July 30. African Americans agreed to halt demonstrations in Americus on August 13.
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 African Americans protesting for the release of arrested women in Americus, Georgia, 1965 July 28, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0959, 30:09/45:32, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.