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WSB-TV newsfilm clip of parents taking their children to the Joseph Neel school following court-ordered student transfers to achieve integration in Macon, Georgia, 1970 February 16

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Creator:WSB-TV (Television station : Atlanta, Ga.)
Title:WSB-TV newsfilm clip of parents taking their children to the Joseph Neel school following court-ordered student transfers to achieve integration in Macon, Georgia, 1970 February 16
Date:1970 Feb. 16
Description:

In this WSB newsfilm clip from February 16, 1970, white and African American parents walk with their children into Joseph Neel School in Macon, Georgia after court-ordered integration transferred nearly one-fourth of the twenty-two thousand students in Bibb County elementary schools. The clip begins as an African American woman and girl and a white man and two boys walk past cars into the school building. Two white women and three white children get out of a car and head toward the school in the rain. Parents stand in the school hallways and Macon mayor Ronnie Thompson greets a man as he walks out of a room. Inside a classroom, white students sit at desks; an interracial group of students followed by an African American teacher leave a classroom. Answering an off-screen reporter's question, an unidentified woman explains that she brought her son to Joseph Neel School even though he had been transferred to another school, because she believes in freedom of choice and because after five years, her son wants to graduate from Neel like his older siblings did. The rest of the exchange between the reporter and the woman is not completely recorded. Outside the school an African American girl and a white woman walk beside the building. After a break in the clip, mayor Ronnie Thompson walks toward the school with his son, his wife, and her lawyer, Macon attorney Billy Evans. Back inside the school, the reporter speaks to mayor Ronnie Thompson whose son was transferred to a school closer to the Thompson home, but came back to Neel. Mayor Thompson hopes his actions will show that the court-ordered transfers violate students' civil rights and that the United States president will step-in to rectify the violations. Thompson feels that the situation in Macon is a reversal of the situation that happened in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957; according to Thompson, in Little Rock, the school had to be made to let students in and now schools are being made to keep people out. Outdoors parents stand under an awning with their children as more people in raingear approach the building. The clip ends with principal William Greenhaw, Jr. speaking to parents gathered in the school's hallways. Macon city and Bibb County schools were first desegregated by United States district court judge William A. Bootle in 1964. Although African Americans sought to increase the pace of desegregation, the Bibb county school board implemented a "Freedom of choice" plan, allowing African American parents to request school transfers although relatively few were granted. In late 1969, judge Bootle approved the school board's freedom of choice plan only to be reversed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in December which ordered a full integration and faculty merger by the beginning of the 1970 school year. Responding to a petition by the Macon branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the United States Supreme Court ordered full integration without additional delays on January 14, 1970. A compromise plan approved by judge Bootle required immediate integration of elementary schools and desegregation of middle and high schools by the end of the year. Parents opposed to the integration plan invited Georgia governor Lester Maddox to speak at a Macon rally where he encouraged parents to keep their children home from school rather than accept the integration plan. The February 16 integration took place without violence, although nearly five hundred parents, including mayor Thompson, refused to take their children to the newly-assigned schools. After a week of parents taking their children to the old schools, judge Bootle issued a restraining order blocking schools from issuing credit to students who were not assigned to that school and creating the possibility of fines and imprisonment for uncooperative parents. Mayor Thompson announced his decision to obey court orders, encouraging others to do the same, and filed a lawsuit which continued the fight for "freedom of choice" schools.

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:Thompson, Ronnie | Evans, Billy Lee, 1941- | Greenhaw, William | Segregation in education--Georgia--Macon | School integration--Georgia--Macon | Federal-city relations--Georgia--Macon | School children--Civil rights--Georgia--Macon | Elementary schools--Georgia--Macon | Rain and rainfall--Georgia--Macon | Mayors--Georgia--Macon | Classrooms--Georgia--Macon | African American teachers--Georgia--Macon | Reporters and reporting--Georgia--Macon | Interviews--Georgia--Macon | Intervention (Federal government)--Georgia--Macon | School integration--Massive resistance movement--Georgia--Macon | Government, Resistance to--Georgia--Macon | School choice--Law and legislation--Georgia--Macon | Joseph Neel School (Macon, Ga.) | Macon (Ga.) | Bibb County (Ga.)
Collection:WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection
Institution:Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection
Contributors:Thompson, Ronnie | Greenhaw, William | 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 2 min.): color, sound ; 16 mm.

1 clip (about 2 min.): color, sound ; 16 mm.

1 clip (b-roll): color, sound ; 16 mm.

Original found in the WSB-TV newsfilm collection.

Rights and Usage:

WSB-TV newsfilm clip of parents taking their children to the Joseph Neel school following court-ordered student transfers to achieve integration in Macon, Georgia, 1970 February 16, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 1617, 21:47/23:21, 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_58834