WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a news report about continued segregation at the Lester Maddox Cafeteria, with comments by segregationist Lester Maddox and African American civil rights lawyer Donald Hollowell, Atlanta, Georgia, 1965

WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a news report about continued segregation at the Lester Maddox Cafeteria, with comments by segregationist Lester Maddox and African American civil rights lawyer Donald Hollowell, Atlanta, Georgia, 1965

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Creator:WSB-TV (Television station : Atlanta, Ga.)
Title:WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a news report about continued segregation at the Lester Maddox Cafeteria, with comments by segregationist Lester Maddox and African American civil rights lawyer Donald Hollowell, Atlanta, Georgia, 1965
Date:1965
Description:

Reporter: Briggs, Fred, 1932-.

In this WSB newsfilm clip from 1965, a reporter comments on the segregationist polices at the Lester Maddox cafeteria in Atlanta, Georgia and interviews Lester Maddox and civil rights lawyer Donald Hollowell about the situation.

The clip is divided into two segments. The clip begins with two white men walking through a door into the Lester Maddox Cafeteria. A sign on the door indicates that the business does not serve integrationists. Inside the restaurant, white men and women sit at tables around the room. An African American man in a uniform buses tables, and a white man uses the telephone. Lester Maddox walks by carrying a pitcher in each hand. Next, African American civil rights lawyer Donald Hollowell sits in an office.

After a break in the clip, reporter Fred Briggs stands outside the Lester Maddox Cafeteria and comments on the situation. He explains that the Lester Maddox Cafeteria used to be the Pickrick Restaurant. He mentions that the Pickrick sign is now covered. The covering, seen in the clip, reads "This light turned out by L.B.J." The sign refers to President Lyndon B. Johnson who had a reputation for turning off lights at the White House and who signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act which outlawed racial discrimination by businesses. Briggs reports that since September 1964 the restaurant has been known as the Lester Maddox Cafeteria. Although the name has changed, Briggs continues, the trademarks of the Pickrick remain, including the same recipes and a table of segregationist literature. Briggs indicates that many customers have returned to the Pickrick, but that while business appears to be doing well, Maddox says it is not all returned.

Following a break in the clip, Lester Maddox comments further on the situation, blaming "the agitation and the confusion caused by the agitators" for a fifteen to twenty percent decline from normal business. Maddox claims that if agitators leave him and his business alone, it can return to being "a successful part of the American free enterprise system." Briggs outlines Maddox's business policy. While Maddox cannot legally refuse service to patrons because of "race, creed, or color," he claims he does not have to serve "integrationists." Briggs clarifies that an African American who wants to eat at the cafeteria would be an integrationist, because a segregationist would not want to eat there. The clip breaks again, and Briggs reports that following the December 1964 Supreme Court ruling in Heart of Atlanta v. United States, African Americans have not tried to patronize the Lester Maddox Cafeteria, and according to lawyer Donald Hollowell, they probably will not try in the future.

The clip returns to Hollowell sitting in his office. Hollowell comments on the international publicity surrounding the state and federal court cases against Lester Maddox and his restaurant. Hollowell believes that since African Americans know of the cases against Maddox, they are content to "let that matter rest" and "let the courts take care of it." Hollowell also recognizes that other restaurant owners do comply with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Reporter Briggs concludes by repeating Maddox's hope that the courts and African Americans will continue to leave him alone.

During the b-roll of the clip, Maddox again walks around the restaurant with a pitcher in each hand. Men sit at tables with food in front of them. Pro-segregation literature sits on a table in the front of the room. A sign near a pond encourages patrons to "make a wish and a gift for segregation." Maddox, employees, and patrons walk around the room.

Lester Maddox ran the Pickrick with his wife, Virginia, from 1947 until 1965. The restaurant, located near the campus of Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, became well-known for its good food and reasonable prices. Maddox used his position as a businessman to speak out in favor of segregation. During the civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s, Maddox refused to serve African American patrons. He kept ax handles--called "Pickrick drumsticks" near the restaurant's front door to discourage African Americans seeking to eat at the restaurant. Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Maddox chased two African Americans away from the Pickrick at gunpoint. Maddox publicly announced he would go to jail before serving African Americans, even after being charged in court for pointing a gun at the men. On July 22 in a case against the Pickrick and the white-only Heart of Atlanta Motel, a federal court upheld the Civil Rights Act and issued an injunction beginning August 11 against both businesses prohibiting them from denying service to customers based on color or race. Lawyers appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court which heard the case in October; while waiting for the court to hear the case, the Heart of Atlanta began accepting African American customers, and Maddox closed the Pickrick on August 13. On September 26 Maddox opened the Lester Maddox Cafeteria in the Pickrick's old location and announced he would serve "acceptable" Georgians. During a trial for contempt of court on September 29, Maddox argued that he was not in contempt because he was no longer offering service to out-of-state travelers or integrationists. In December 1964 the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Civil Rights Act. On February 5, 1965 a federal court ruled Maddox was in contempt of court for failing to obey the injunction and ordered him fined two hundred dollars a day for failing to serve African Americans. Maddox closed the restaurant February 7, 1965 blaming president Johnson and communism for putting him out of business.

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.

Types:Moving images | News | Unedited footage
Subjects:Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003 | Hollowell, Donald | Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 | Briggs, Fred, 1932- | Restaurants--Employees | Restaurants--Georgia--Atlanta | Discrimination in restaurants--Georgia--Atlanta | Segregation--Georgia--Atlanta | Segregationists--Georgia--Atlanta | Government, Resistance to--Georgia--Atlanta | Reporters and reporting--Georgia--Atlanta | Interviews--Georgia--Atlanta | African American lawyers--Georgia--Atlanta | Lawyers--Georgia--Atlanta | African American civil rights workers--Georgia--Atlanta | Civil rights workers--Georgia--Atlanta | Men, White--Georgia--Atlanta | Atlanta (Ga.)--Race relations--History--20th century | Pickrick (Atlanta, Ga.) | Lester Maddox Cafeteria (Atlanta, Ga.) | Atlanta (Ga.) | Fulton County (Ga.)
Collection:
Institution:Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection
Contributors:Briggs, Fred, 1932- | Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003 | Hollowell, Donald | Briggs, Fred, 1932- | Digital Library of Georgia | Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection | Civil Rights Digital Library Collection (Digital Library of Georgia)
Online Publisher:Athens, Ga. : Digital Library of Georgia and Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, University of Georgia Libraries | 2007
Original Material:

1 clip (about 3 min.): black-and-white, sound ; 16 mm.

1 clip (b-roll): black-and-white, sound ; 16 mm.

Original found in the WSB-TV newsfilm collection.

Rights and Usage:

WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a news report about continued segregation at the Lester Maddox Cafeteria, with comments by segregationist Lester Maddox and African American civil rights lawyer Donald Hollowell, Atlanta, Georgia, 1965, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 1390, 31:28/34:01, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.

Related Materials:

Forms part of: Civil Rights Digital Library.

Persistent Link to Item:http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/crdl/id:ugabma_wsbn_51708