In this WSB newsfilm clip from June 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to an audience about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's (SCLC) Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project. The clip's audio is inconsistent; comments may no be completely recorded. Dr. King emphasizes the connection between political and economic power and indicates the significance of SCOPE's plans to assist African Americans with voter registration.
King comments on his experience traveling in Africa. During these remarks he is not seen by the camera while he speaks. A man leads the audience in singing "We shall not be moved" while King sits on the dais. King cites SCOPE's potential influence by pointing out the number of African Americans elected to serve in the 1966 Georgia General Assembly--two senators and at least seven members of the House of Representatives. King specifically commends Georgia senators Leroy Johnson and Horace T. Ward. In January, 1966 when the newly elected legislators were to begin their terms of service, one of the African Americans elected to the House of Representatives, Julian Bond, was prevented by the legislature from taking his seat for statements he made supporting a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee statement against the Vietnam War. The Untied States Supreme Court in December 1966 ruled that the legislature's actions were unconstitutional and Bond was sworn in to office in January, 1967, serving in the House of Representatives until 1974.
King urges his audience to support the over one-thousand SCOPE volunteers coming to the South during the summer. He explains SCOPE volunteers will "engage in community organization and political education and increase the number of Negro registered voters." King asserts that with hard work, guidance, and cooperation, it will be possible to double the number of registered African American voters. He asks the audience to "go back to your counties with a commitment and a determination where the SCOPE project is concerned"; he also entreats the audience to accept the white volunteers as they would African American volunteers.
King provides a brief overview of the progress African Americans have made towards achieving an end to legal segregation but points out there are still economic and social barriers to overcome. Emphasizing the need to improve African American economic status, King rhetorically asks a list of questions about the benefit of legally being permitted to do something that is not economically feasible. King pledges that through voting African Americans will be able to overcome economic and social barriers.
At a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) board meeting held in Baltimore, Maryland March 30 through April 1 leaders agreed to support the Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project which was headed by SCLC member Hosea Williams. Described as an expansion of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, SCOPE planned to send northern volunteers to communities in several southern states, including Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, and Florida to work with local leaders in voter registration, community organization, and political organization. Civil rights leaders, anticipating the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, hoped community volunteers would assist federal voting registrars to increase the number of African Americans registered to vote. SCOPE volunteers were recruited primarily from northern colleges and universities and were screened in part based on dress and appearance in an attempt to counter the "hippy" perceptions attributed to Mississippi Freedom Summer volunteers. Volunteers gathered for training in Atlanta the third week in June before being assigned to various southern counties for the ten-week program.
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.