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WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a city official blaming Hosea Williams for stirring up racial unrest in Columbus, Georgia, 1971 June 21

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Creator:WSB-TV (Television station : Atlanta, Ga.)
Title:WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a city official blaming Hosea Williams for stirring up racial unrest in Columbus, Georgia, 1971 June 21
Date:1971 June 21

In this WSB newsfilm clip from Monday, June 21, 1971, U.S. representative from Georgia Jack Brinkley blames civil rights activist Hosea Williams for inciting civil unrest that ensued after a protest march in Columbus on June 19th, 1971.

The clip begins with Representative Brinkley calling the participation of non-local civil rights activists "wrong," stating his objections to black or white community members engaging nonlocal residents as part of a protest strategy. Describing Columbus as a place where people were "getting along," he asserts that it is wrong for someone to "come out and create and precipitate trouble." A reporter asks Brinkley if he is "putting the finger" on Williams as the reason for the "weekend trouble in Columbus;" the official then acknowledges that he "very specifically" implicates Hosea Williams as the cause of trouble, and refers to Williams as "chief racist of them all." The reporter follows up by asking Brinkley if he thinks that laws should be enacted to prevent non-local activists from entering a community and "inflaming" it; he responds by stating that he thinks that there is already a "good" federal law in place that "deals with people who cross state lines in order to inspire riots," presumably referring to the federal anti-riot act of 1968. Brinkley says he is unsure where Hosea Williams is from, guesses that he is from Atlanta, then adds "but he travels all across the United States." He expresses hope that Williams' recent activity in Columbus could be "looked into." The clip ends.

Violence broke out in Columbus, Georgia during the spring and summer of 1971 following a series of racially motivated suspensions and firings in the Columbus police department. On Saturday, June 19, 1971, Hosea Williams, regional vice president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), helped organize a protest march in support of demands made in a class-action lawsuit against the city, and to protest the city's failure to address grievances of the Afro-American Police League. The lawsuit's plaintiffs sought to eliminate longstanding discriminatory practices in the department, and to reinstate officers who had protested against said practices. Although the protest march was peaceful, racial tensions were high in Columbus, and violence escalated dramatically after the demonstration. Rioting reached a height on June 21, 1971, when a white officer, L. A. Jacks, shot and killed a twenty-year old African American youth named Willie J. Osborne after an alleged armed robbery. Riots, arson attacks, police violence, and further protests impacted the city for several months, prompting the Columbus City Council to invoke an emergency ordinance, and Columbus mayor J. R. Allen to declare a state of emergency. Williams, a prominent figure who demanded accountability from white officials in a vigorous and sustained manner, was vilified as an outside agitator and a racist by politicians who sought a swift return to the status quo.

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:News | Unedited footage | MovingImage
Subjects:Williams, Hosea, 1926- | Brinkley, Jack | Civil rights demonstrations--Georgia--Columbus | Race riots--Georgia--Columbus | Race relations | Police--Georgia--Columbus | African Americans--Civil rights--Georgia--Columbus | African Americans--Georgia--Columbus | Legislators--United States | Georgia--Politics and government | Civil rights workers | Civil rights workers--Georgia--Columbus | African American civil rights workers | African American civil rights workers--Georgia--Columbus | African American clergy--Georgia | Clergy--Georgia | African Americans--Civil rights--Georgia | Civil rights--Georgia--Columbus | Demonstrations--Georgia--Columbus | Civil rights movements--Georgia--Columbus | Direct action--Georgia--Columbus | Riots--Georgia--Columbus | Riots--Georgia--Columbus--History--20th century | Race riots--United States--History--20th century | Social conflict--Georgia--Columbus | Racism--Georgia | Racism--Georgia--Columbus | African Americans--Georgia--Columbus | Whites--Georgia--Columbus | African Americans--Politics and government--20th century | Whites--Politics and government--20th century | Race discrimination--Georgia--Columbus | Prejudices--Georgia--Columbus | Polarization (Social Sciences)--Georgia--Columbus | Intervention (Federal government)--Georgia--Columbus | Indictments--Georgia--Columbus | Governmental investigations | African Americans--Georgia--Columbus--Social conditions--20th century | Whites--Georgia--Columbus--Social conditions--20th century | African Americans--Georgia--Columbus--Social conditions--1964-1975 | Whites--Georgia--Columbus--Social conditions--1964-1975 | Reporters and reporting | United States--Race relations | Georgia--Race relations | Columbus (Ga.)--Race relations | Columbus (Ga.)--Race relations--History--20th century | Georgia--Social conditions--1960-1980 | Columbus (Ga.)--Social conditions--20th century | Columbus (Ga.)--Politics and government | Georgia--Politics and government--1951- | Columbus (Ga.)--Politics and government--1951- | United States, Georgia, Muscogee County, Columbus, 32.4609764, -84.9877094
Collection:WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection
Institution:Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection
Contributors:Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection
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Original found in the WSB-TV newsfilm collection.

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Persistent Link to Item:http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/crdl/id:ugabma_wsbn_58178
Persistent Link to Item:http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/crdl/do:ugabma_wsbn_58178