In this silent WSB newsfilm clip from July 27, 1962, police monitor a group of mostly African American students who have gathered in front of the city hall in Albany, Georgia for a "kneel-in"; afterwards the police lead demonstrators away.
The clip begins with small numbers of students, including Charles Jones, William Hansen, and Rutha Harris, congregating in front of Albany City Hall under the watchful eye of police. As the demonstrators kneel and pray, the police officers walk back and forth in front of students while onlookers observe from an alley beside the city hall building.
Large-scale demonstrations in Albany began after the arrival of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) volunteers Charles Sherrod and Cordell Reagon in the summer of 1961. Atlanta-based SNCC sent the two to Albany to evaluate the possibility of a voter registration project. Sherrod and Reagon found local high school and college students interested in the Civil Rights movement and taught principles of nonviolence to many of them. In November, 1961 the Albany Movement, created from the civil rights efforts of several local clubs, began leading civil rights demonstrations and protests. Albany demonstrations followed other civil rights efforts in the South by confronting segregation with direct action tactics such as marches; boycotts of the bus system and downtown businesses; and tests of the public library, public parks, and other segregated facilities. As in this clip, the Albany protesters also staged "kneel-ins," public prayers for the city and its leaders often held near City Hall. Civil rights activists frequently submitted to arrest rather than leave when confronted by police in order to demonstrate resistance against laws they considered unjust and to increase pressure on city officials. Albany police chief Laurie Pritchett, aware of the sympathetic national attention demonstrators gained by scenes of police violence during civil rights protests, instructed Albany officers to respond nonviolently to passive resistance.
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.