Reporter: Moore, Ray, 1922-.
In this compilation WSB newsfilm clip from November 1960, the Orleans Parish School Board holds a press conference; reporters work in the office of an unidentified news office; a man reads a report to the press; state representative John S. Garrett speaks at a White Citizens' Council rally; white demonstrators protest the court-ordered desegregation of William Frantz and McDonogh 19 elementary schools while United States marshals escort the four African American girls integrating the schools; and WSB-TV reporter Ray Moore comments on school integration in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The clip begins with a silent section during which members of the Orleans Parish School Board sit around a table in an office. Recently reelected member Matthew Sutherland, wearing a bow tie, sits in the middle of the group; to the left sit school board president Lloyd Rittiner and superintendent of schools Dr. James Redmond. The camera later focuses on Sutherland who appears to be speaking. Reporters in the room review handouts and take notes on the meeting; others record the conversation. Superintendent Redmond hands out papers to those at the press conference; behind him on the wall is a large map of the city of New Orleans. Later, he also is seen speaking to the press conference.
Next, the camera focuses on white reporters working in the office of a news agency. One man sits at a typewriter. Behind him a woman also sits at a typewriter with her back to the camera, and another man is in a glass-enclosed room. Later four other white men walk around the room, and two televisions play in the background. The camera returns to the man at the typewriter. Behind a glass wall are machines with feeds from the Associated Press; above the machines are maps of the world and the United States. Elsewhere in the main room, reporters work at tables surrounded by stacks of newspapers. In another office, a man sits at a desk, looks through piles of papers, and types.
After the images from the newsroom are scenes from another press conference. School board president Lloyd Rittiner stands behind school board attorney Samuel Rosenberg, who speaks to reporters. Rosenberg appears to refer to a legal document in his hands. Newsmen and women listen to Rosenberg, take notes, and film the news conference.
Later state representative John S. Garrett from Claiborne Parish speaks to an audience gathered at the Municipal Auditorium for a Citizens' Council rally on November 15 against the court-ordered desegregation of New Orleans schools. Garrett, chair of the joint legislative committee on segregation, reportedly called for the arrest of federal judge J. Skelly Wright as well as the United States marshals escorting the African American students to the integrated schools. When the camera pans to show the auditorium, participants appear to clap and cheer for Garrett.
Following the scenes of the rally are images from William Frantz and McDonogh 19 elementary schools. A United States marshal in front of Frantz school opens a door for an African American woman getting out of a car. Other cars drive down the street, and a mounted policeman watches the traffic. A reporter with a microphone stands near a group of white women and school-age children. The women appear to answer questions or shout. Crowds of mostly white people stand outside along the street, in front of homes; among the crowd are cameramen filming the scene and policemen. Later policemen in uniform stand at the bottom of the stairs leading to the entrance of McDonogh 19 Elementary School; more cars drive down the street past the school. More crowds stand on other corners and the camera again focuses on the group of women and children the reporter spoke to earlier. Three white men, including police superintendent Joseph Giarrusso, stand together under trees near McDonogh 19. The clip briefly shows marshals leading an African American girl and her mother into McDonogh 19 before showing a white mother leading her daughter down the street. Cars drive down streets lined with white protesters who are being watched by policemen. Men walk in front of McDonogh 19 School. Later a female crossing guard helps a mother and child across the street near Frantz School, and other white parents walk up the school steps. Outside of a home, more crowds stand on the sidewalk and groups of white parents stand in front of another unidentified building that appears to be a school. Joseph Giarrusso and another white man walk across the street. White mothers walk towards Frantz School, and policemen speak to members of a crowd and follow them as they walk down the street. A young woman holds a young boy on her lap; he later gets up and toddles toward the camera.
The next sequence shows WSB-TV reporter Ray Moore sitting on a stool in front of a curtain and providing a recap of the school integration in New Orleans. Moore highlights the parallels between New Orleans and Atlanta, which was under court orders to integrate its schools the next fall. Moore reports on the defiance of Louisiana legislators who have called the federal judge "mentally un-right" and compared the federal marshals to Hitler's Storm Troopers. He suggests that even though legislators are defiant about the court-ordered integration, they also recognize "integration will surely come." According to Moore, several Georgia legislators have privately expressed the same sentiment. Moore explains that no one in the Louisiana legislature "has seriously talked of giving up public education" and believes Georgia legislators will behave similarly when Atlanta schools are integrated in the fall of 1961. The clip breaks, and Moore reports on the hatred demonstrated earlier in the day by white demonstrators witnessing the school integration. After another break in the clip, Moore reports that New Orleans citizens have "a begrudging admiration for a police force that worked forcefully to prevent bloodshed." He concludes by recounting seeing a well-dressed African American woman smile and wave while driving by booing crowds of demonstrators, and in return two white women "laughed and waved back."
The clip ends with more scenes from the integration of Frantz and McDonogh 19 schools. Marshals escort an African American student into McDonogh 19, and across the street white demonstrators appear to yell in protest. Policemen stand along the sidewalk and on the other side of the street stand more demonstrators. An African American man stands near a sign advertising key-making, and later another African American man walks away between two white police officers. Among the crowd a white woman holds a child who has fallen asleep. Back at McDonogh 19 men walk in and out of the school, and several cars drive past the crowd across the street. Someone in the crowd waves a Confederate battle flag. A white man holds his daughter's hand as they walk on the sidewalk across the street from the crowd. Reporters in sunglasses stand across the street from the crowd near the school. A camera sits on the grass with a white rag over its lens. White women, some carrying flags, walk across the street. A crowd under a tree holds picket signs and hangs an effigy, possibly of a monkey, from the tree. White policemen stand around Frantz School while more white protesters stand on the sidewalk. The camera pans right and shows crowds gathered on several streets. School-age boys carry picket signs through the demonstrators. One sign has the slogan, "All I want for Christmas is a clean white school." Several white men stand together and appear to talk about something. Later several cars drive near Frantz School, and a white woman leaves the school with her daughter. A white policeman stands in the doorway of the school. Across the street, white parents and their children stand together and watch the school. The clip ends with a white woman and school-age girl walking down the street.
In 1956 federal judge J. Skelly Wright overturned New Orleans school segregation laws. Legal maneuvering by the state legislature and the Orleans Parish School Board prevented school integration until 1960, when judge Wright ordered the school board to begin desegregating the first grade that fall. Four of the five members of the school board decided it was better to have open schools with token integration than to close all of New Orleans public schools. These board members began working with judge Wright to establish a pupil placement plan for integration. The legislature refused to accept the decision of the judge or of the school board and held several sessions before and after the November 14 integration to try and prevent or reverse the desegregation.
Eventually, the Orleans Parish School Board chose four African American girls to integrate two elementary schools from the 135 applications for transfer they received. Officials from Southern communities who had already completed court-ordered desegregation warned the Orleans Parish School Board against desegregating poor neighborhoods first. The Orleans Parish School Board ignored this advice, and choose to desegregated two schools in the poor Ninth Ward, William Frantz and McDonogh 19. White parents, upset by the integration and by the school selection, pulled their children out of school. The boycott against McDonogh 19 was nearly complete for most of the school year. A few white parents, disregarding the boycott, tried to send their children to Frantz but eventually community pressure, including job loss, caused the families to leave Louisiana. Local White Citizens' Councils helped white parents set up a cooperative school located in nearby St. Bernard Parish for families from McDonogh 19 and Frantz schools; by the end of the year, the cooperative school was absorbed into the St. Bernard school system. Even with these accommodations, nearly three hundred children in New Orleans from the two effected schools did not attend school the first year of integration.
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.