In this WSB newsfilm clip, probably from September 7, 1966, Atlanta mayor Ivan Allen comments on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)'s role in exacerbating civil unrest during an outdoor demonstration. The audio quality of this clip is poor.
As Allen begins to speak into a table microphone at a press conference, a reporter inserts a hand-held microphone directly in front of his face. Allen says "No, I'm not placing the blame directly on SNCC, I'm saying that they were there in full force and they agitated the situation that existed there. Blame goes back maybe a couple of hundred years, I don't know that . . . but the SNCC organization obviously was there, I'm informed, and that they precipitated by the use of a sound truck and other known methods of inciting people the incident that happened there yesterday." Allen is presumably speaking of rioting that erupted in Atlanta's Summerhill neighborhood on September 6, 1966.
Atlanta's Summerhill riots began as a rally to demonstrate against police brutality in the shooting of a suspected African American car thief, but the unrest also represented a deep dissatisfaction with the city's failure to address ongoing inequities in housing and municipal services for residents of the Summerhill neighborhood. A loudspeaker had been brought to the rally by SNCC staff so that neighborhood residents could voice their personal observations of the shooting; police arrested SNCC staffers when they refused to turn it off. Angered by these arrests, the crowd reacted by throwing bottles and rocks at police. Mayor Allen attempted to speak to demonstrators from the top of a police car, but he was heckled by the crowd and knocked off of the vehicle. White city officials blamed SNCC leaders, especially SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael, for inciting the Summerhill crowd to riot; these claims were rejected by SNCC, who instead claimed that it was the negligence of the mayor and other city officials to respond to earlier complaints that caused the riot. Carmichael was arrested in a police raid of SNCC headquarters, and convicted of inciting to riot and disorderly conduct; the charges were overturned on appeal. As fear of further rioting grew, Mayor Allen and other city politicians sought to establish better communication between the residents of African American neighborhoods and city hall, and ultimately developed the biracial Community Relations Commission in November of 1966 to address grievances in African American communities.
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.