In this silent WSB newsfilm clip from June 30, 1963, unidentified white men picket recently integrated restaurants and Lester Maddox walks near the protesters in Atlanta, Georgia.
The clip begins with a white man picketing in front of a restaurant, possibly Johnny Reb's Canteen in Atlanta, Georgia. The man carries a sign with the slogan "Do not eat here. The owner practices integration." Lester Maddox, segregationist owner of The Pickrick restaurant walks down the street and stands across the street from an unidentified restaurant. Another unidentified white man pickets in front of another restaurant. His sign has the slogan "Do not eat here. The owner of this business is a leader for integration." Maddox is seen again, apparently speaking to someone off-camera. Finally a white youth pickets in front of "Ye Olde Herren's"; his picket sign has a similar slogan to the other two seen.
In March 1960, African American students in Atlanta, Georgia, began organized, sustained protests of segregation. Negotiations in March 1961 led to the desegregation of many downtown lunch counters in September 1961. Another phase of demonstrations began on April 27, 1963 when students began sit-ins at segregated restaurants and hotels in Atlanta. Over one hundred African American and white students were arrested during the demonstrations. On May 30 the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors unanimously issued a policy statement encouraging all businesses serving the public to desegregate immediately; Atlanta restaurants ignored the plea and demonstrations continued. On June 25 thirty-five restaurants planned to quietly desegregate their facilities, ending most of the demonstrations; no list of integrated restaurants was published. According to the Atlanta Journal, one proprietor agreed to integrate on a thirty-day trial, planning to continue integrated service if there were no problems. On June 30 several white men picketed four known integrated restaurants. Lester Maddox, owner of the still-segregated Pickrick, told a reporter he anticipated the number of anti-integration picketers to start small but to increase, possibly to a thousand picketers. He also mentioned that he was considering publishing a city-wide list of desegregated places. Most of the thirty-five restaurants resegregated before the end of the year. The city's restaurants did not widely desegregate until after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in July 1964 which included a "public accommodations" provision prohibiting businesses engaging in interstate commerce from segregating.
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.
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Cite as: WSB-TV newsfilm clip of white men picketing recently integrated restaurants in Atlanta, Georgia, 1963 June 30, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 1081, 48:42/49:59, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.