In this WSB newsfilm clip from January 9, 1961, Georgia governor Ernest Vandiver, speaking from the governor's mansion in Atlanta, Georgia, reads from a statement he sent to lieutenant governor Garland T. Byrd and Speaker of the House George L. Smith, Jr., regarding the inevitable integration of the University of Georgia and a state law preventing the funding of integrated educational institutions. Governor Vandiver, a University of Georgia alumnus, announces that attorney general Eugene Cook and two assistants are petitioning the United States Supreme Court in an attempt to reverse a court-order to integrate the University of Georgia. Vandiver anticipates the Supreme Court, the state's last available legal recourse, will reply by midday January 10. Also scheduled for Tuesday, January 10, African American students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes will begin attending university classes under court order. Vandiver reminds his audience that the 1956 appropriations act prevents the state from funding integrated education, and reads a section from the law. Recognizing that the University of Georgia will not be able to continue operating without state funds, Vandiver asks the legislature to amend the 1956 statute to remove the prohibition against funding integrated schools as soon as possible so that the University of Georgia may continue to operate. African Americans began trying to integrate the University of Georgia with Horace T. Ward's application to the university's law school in 1950; his case ended unsuccessfully in 1957. In 1959, Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter applied to the university but their applications were denied, allegedly because of "lack of space." After unsuccessfully renewing their applications several more times, lawyers for the two students filed a federal lawsuit against the university in 1960. On January 6, 1961, federal judge William A. Bootle ruled that the university could not reject otherwise qualified applicants solely based on their race and ordered the university to admit the students. On January 10, 1961, Bootle issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state of Georgia from cutting off funds to the university, and on January 13, he declared the 1956 appropriations act prohibiting funding integrated schools unconstitutional.
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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 Georgia governor Ernest Vandiver reading a statement sent to state officials regarding the integration of the University of Georgia from the governor's mansion in Atlanta, Georgia, 1961 January 9, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0962, 00:00/03:50, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.