In this silent WSB newsfilm clip from July 1963, African Americans protest segregation in daytime and nighttime demonstrations, police sit at their headquarters, men repair a broken window, and a white man examines the damage in a burnt building. The clip contains both daytime and nighttime scenes and frequently jumps between scenes. It also contains several long pauses with both black and white screens.
The clip begins by showing damage from a recent riot. A car windshield and a storefront window each have a hole in them. Two African American young men walk by the storefront; one stops and points to the broken window. Other African American men stand on the corner of Saston Street near a barbecue restaurant. Next, an African American man wearing a prison uniform shines the shoes of a white police officer. Other white police officers stand nearby. One white officer, seen through a window, drinks from a cup; another officer walks behind him. Later, two white men file a window ledge of a smashed out window. The camera focuses on a sign for "Baptist Bible Church." A white man walks through the doorway under the sign and walks down the street. Another white man is seen through a broken out window frame. The man looks through a fire-damaged book. The edges of the book are charred but some of the pages appear to be fine. The man shows the damaged book to the camera. Later the man walks out of a one-story fire-damaged building.
Next, African American demonstrators sit on the ground clapping and singing during a nighttime demonstration. A white photographer takes a picture of the demonstrators. Demonstrators rush to sit down in front of a car with its headlights on. There are brief images of tear gas in the air and of people rushing through doors. Policemen pull demonstrators off of a police car; one of the demonstrators falls to the ground.
The clip returns to a daytime image of a white man walking away from the burnt building seen earlier. The man shows the camera fire damage on the inside of the door. Next, a white policeman is briefly seen near African American demonstrators in downtown Savannah. When the clip returns to the night scene, white policemen and an African American man try to direct African American children while other African Americans stand around singing and clapping. The clip pauses for a period, showing a blank white screen and then a blank black screen. The clip shows a brief view of white policemen at night wearing black rain coats before returning to the two white policemen in the garage. An African American prisoner shines the shoes of one of the officers. Later a pane of glass sits in the back of a truck, and the camera shows the storefront with the broken window that will be replaced. Two white policemen approach a group of African Americans standing on a street corner, and two African American young men stand on the corner of Saston Street. The camera returns to the police garage where a policeman looks through a window and a police car is parked.
After the daytime scenes, the clip returns to the nighttime demonstration. African Americans lie on the ground. White policemen help some of the demonstrators up. Other demonstrators block a police car, and policemen try to remove the demonstrators. A white policeman sits in a police car with its lights on, waiting for the demonstrators to move. Following another long pause in the clip, the white policeman is seen again sitting in his car as he is blocked by demonstrators. A white policeman and African American adults try to pull African American children off of the back of a police car. Several white firemen in dark coats stand together. African American women talk to a white policeman through a car window. A large group of African American demonstrators sit on the ground and sing and clap their hands. As protesters get up from the ground in front of the car, others take their place. After another break in the clip, demonstrators try to escape tear gas by running inside a building. Policemen move through the darkness and later push back African Americans. In the darkness, lights shine, and cars drive down the road. The clip ends inside a police building although the camera is at odd angles.
During the summer of 1963, African Americans in Savannah, Georgia, engaged in confrontational civil rights demonstrations. Chatham County Crusade for Voters leader Hosea Williams directed several daytime and nighttime demonstrations against segregation. A July 11, 1963 demonstration was broken up by tear gas and fire hoses, prompting bystanders to riot. Georgia governor Carl Sanders sent members of the Georgia State Patrol to Savannah and put the National Guard on alert. Following the demonstrations that jailed over five hundred protesters, business leaders agreed to a wide-spread desegregation plan that went into effect on October 1, 1963.
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.