In this WSB newsfilm clip from Augusta, Georgia on April 3, 1962, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. promotes a "second emancipation proclamation," and Reverend C. S. Hamilton, local civil rights movement leader, speaks to a mass meeting.
The clip begins with Dr. King, who is in Augusta with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), declaring that United States president John F. Kennedy should issue an executive order outlawing segregation in public facilities, something King refers to as a "Second Emancipation Proclamation." Kings comments are also recorded in WSB clip 38276. After a break in the clip, the camera focuses on the listening audience filling the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta as well as on King, although no audio is recorded. The clip breaks again before showing an outdoor scene with people walking on a golf course and standing around the green, presumably at the Augusta National Golf Club where the Masters Golf Tournament is held each April. Back in Tabernacle Baptist Church, African Americans fill the pews and crowd in the organ loft in a mass meeting. Reverend C. S. Hamilton, president of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), tells the congregation the plan to integrate and attend the Masters Golf Tournament on Sunday. The audience responds with applause. Finally, Dr. King explains that the first Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential executive order. Although Abraham Lincoln outlawed physical slavery, King asserts that segregation "is nothing but slavery covered up with certain niceties of complexity." The audience applauds again.
African Americans in Augusta protested segregation beginning in 1960; in 1961 under court order, Augusta bus service was desegregated. Local NAACP officials organized protests in April 1962 that led to some racial rioting in the city after a white youth driving in a black neighborhood was shot and killed. King spoke several times about a "Second Emancipation Proclamation" hoping that president John F. Kennedy would issue an executive order making segregation illegal before the centennial anniversary of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Several lawyers worked with King to prepare documentation supporting such an executive order which was presented to president Kennedy. While Kennedy never issued a "Second Emancipation Proclamation," he did promise civil rights legislation after the July 1963 integration of the University of Alabama which became the 1964 Civil Rights Act signed by president Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964.
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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 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and reverend C. S. Hamilton speaking to a mass meeting, Augusta, Georgia, 1962 April 3, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 1012, 1:45/04:37, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.