In this WSB newsfilm clip from November 24, 1963, leaders of the Summit Leadership Conference speak to reporters at a press conference about civil rights efforts in Atlanta, Georgia. The clip begins with conference co-chair Clarence Coleman of the National Urban League explaining that the Summit Leadership Conference first met on October 19 which lead to the creation and distribution of a document titled "Action for Democracy" assessing many of the problems facing Atlanta's African American community. He reports that members of the Summit Leadership Conference have discussed the "Action for Democracy" with many city, county, and state officials and organizations and have appointments to meet with several other groups to discuss issues of health, housing, labor, education, and public accommodations. Coleman announces that after completing the series of conferences the Summit Leadership Conference, will make recommendations for action to conference participants. African American attorney A. T. Walden, also a co-chair of the Summit Leadership Conference, adds that the latest conference meeting included a "very full representation today from all of the ten sponsoring organizations." He notes participants at the meeting agreed that the discussions with civil and professional organizations were helpful and that it was not yet time to make an evaluation for further action. A reporter asks if there will be more demonstrations following the two days of demonstrations on November 21 and 22. Walden indicates that the demonstrations, led by Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) leader Ralph D. Abernathy as part of Operation Breadbasket and the student group Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COAHR) leader Larry Fox, are suspended for the time being following the assassination of president John F. Kennedy. Fox, asked if he is pleased with the progress, says that the token progress does not provide the ultimate goal of complete desegregation and pledges to continue working with the Summit Leadership Conference for the same goals outlined previously. Asked further about demonstrations the previous week, Coleman reminds the reporter that the previous week's demonstrations were part of negotiations that began before the conference's creation. He also mentions that "the responsible activities of any organization" are not dictated by the Summit Leadership Conference. He also believes that in light of the president's recent assassination a pause to demonstrations is a "wholesome development." When the reporter asks how long the demonstrations will be postponed, Fox confirms that a decision about resuming the demonstrations has not yet been made. Next Walden replies to the reporter's question about the effect of president Kennedy's assassination, asserting that most people have not had time to assess the new situation. He suggests that although some intensity may be lost, because Lyndon B. Johnson has worked closely with John F. Kennedy in civil rights efforts, Walden believes policies favorable to civil rights will continue. Coleman suggests that insurance agent Jesse Hill read the official statement calling churches and other organizations to mourn the president and to "move forward with dignity, wisdom, courage, and increased devotion to the cause of freedom." After a break in the clip Coleman reports on the results of the meetings with the Fulton County Commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce which led to a Chamber resolution urging business to "open up their public facilities." He also shares the fact that the conference urged Atlanta Board of Aldermen and mayor to consider dealing with some of the issues in "Action for Democracy." The clip breaks again and Coleman emphasizes the usefulness of direct action, saying that "we cannot expect to continue to negotiate for the rest of our lives" although some believe the conference method should be used to its fullest potential before considering other action. He announces the Summit Leadership Conference will meet again soon and hopes soon to make recommendations to member organizations. The Summit Leadership Conference was created October 19, 1963 as a coordinating group for existing civil rights organizations and efforts in Atlanta. Members of the group met with local white leaders and on December 15, 1963 hosted a march in Atlanta patterned after the August 28 March on Washington.
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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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WSB-TV newsfilm clip of leaders of the Atlanta Summit Leadership Conference speaking to reporters at a press conference held in Atlanta Georgia, 1963 November 24, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 1005, 23:43/34:35, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.