In this WSB newsfilm clip from the Georgia House of Representatives in Atlanta, Georgia on January 19, 1961, House clerk Glenn Wilson Ellard reads the report of a special committee on integration at the University of Georgia to the legislative body. The audio portion of the clip fades out at several points. Speaker of the House George L. Smith appointed the special committee "to investigate and ascertain the incidents which were precipitated by the entrance of two Negro students to the University of Georgia, Athens." The recorded sections of the report cover classes, demonstrations, and students, and include a petition signed by university faculty and statements and responses of Dr. Harmon W. Caldwell, Chancellor of the University System and of Robert O. Arnold, chair of the Board of Regents.
According to the report, newsmen who were on campus to witness and record the school's integration interfered with classes; on January 19, as many as thirty newsmen followed African American students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes on campus. After contacting press associations about reporters' behavior, the university was assured of better behavior. The report details several campus demonstrations, including the January 11 riot at Hunter's dorm, Myers Hall, that resulted in minor injuries to several people and the suspension of Hunter and Holmes. The report also highlights the committee's concern that university officials were limiting students' rights to demonstrate and express opinions. Questions and statements between representative George B. Brooks, chair of the special committee and representative for Oglethorpe County, and Chancellor Caldwell focus on the university's regulations of student speech. Next, Ellard reads a portion of a resolution signed by over three hundred faculty members condemning violence and calling for the reinstatement of Hunter and Holmes, who were suspended following the January 11 riot "for their own safety." Ellard finishes by reading questions and statements between committee secretary Hiram K. Undercofler of Sumter County and Robert O. Arnold of the Board of Regents addressing university polices toward students. The full-text of this committee report may be found in the House Journal for this date.
Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes first applied to the University of Georgia in July 1959. University officials claimed "lack of space" and refused to admit the two African American students for several quarters. In the fall of 1960, African American attorneys Donald Hollowell, Constance B. Motley, and Horace T. Ward filed a federal lawsuit seeking admission for the two students. Federal judge William A. Bootle on January 6, 1961 ordered the university to admit the two students, ending the university's segregation. Holmes and Hunter registered for classes January 9, and attended their first classes on campus January 11. White students and citizens rioted on January 11 following a basketball game where the University of Georgia team lost to Georgia Tech, leading to the suspension of Hunter and Holmes and their return to Atlanta. Some of the white students who were arrested during the riot were also suspended, leading other legislators to propose bills paying their tuition at other institutions. On January 13, judge Bootle ordered the university to readmit the two students, and they returned to classes January 16.
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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 House of Representatives clerk Glenn Wilson Ellard reading a committee report regarding integration at the University of Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia, 1961 January 19, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0968, 00:00/14:02, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.