In this WSB clip dated May 13, 1970, demonstrators at the University of Georgia protest against United States military activity in Vietnam and the Kent State University shootings; in a press conference, Governor Lester Maddox blames the tragedy on the leaders of his generation.
The clip opens with an evening aerial shot of a large group of protesters shouting "one, two, three, four, we don't want your (audio removed) war," this is followed by a closer shot of student protesters gathered inside a large academic building; they are raising their fists in the air, and chanting along with protesters outside. The audio coverage in the clip has been edited to redact the profanity from the chanting. Next, students congregate inside of an academic building, presumably the Academic building at the University of Georgia; this is followed by an evening shot of a group of students who have gathered together in front of an unidentified building; the building entrance is guarded by two policemen wearing helmets. The next shot, taken in the daytime, is of a large group of students who have gathered together between Park Hall and the Psychology building on the University of Georgia campus; they are facing UGA's Military building (off camera, on the right). In another shot, a protester announces into a bullhorn "mourn the Kent dead and we'll go on mourning the Kent dead as long as . . ." and is truncated by a break in the clip. Next, students make their way across Baldwin Street in front of Park Hall at the University of Georgia.
The clip goes silent, and Georgia governor Lester Maddox conducts a press conference in his office. Seated at his desk, Maddox speaks into an array of microphones; an unmanned television camera is placed squarely in front of him. Several reporters seated next to the camera take notes; only their hands are visible on camera. Next, a shot of Governor Maddox, taken from behind his desk, shows the governor facing a group of reporters who are seated in his office, taking notes. Only the governor's back is visible. The camera returns to the front, this time with a closer shot of Governor Maddox. The audio track of the clip returns, and Maddox emphatically states "And this is what I think is wrong in this country. I say I don't blame those young people, I don't even blame the National Guard. I blame the leaders in our government, the leaders in our Supreme Court, the leaders in our church, and education who have been downplaying God, downplaying America, downplaying the right to private property, downplaying authority and government . . . Not the young people. These of my generation have failed this country."
On May 4, 1970, during protests against United States military activity in Cambodia and Vietnam, four students were killed by the National Guard on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio. In response to the tragedy, student strikes and protests were organized at hundreds of universities across the country, closing many of the schools down. On the evening of May 6, three thousand demonstrators gathered outside the Academic building at the University of Georgia. After several days of demonstrations, the Georgia Board of Regents authorized the suspension of classes in all of its institutions, to take place on Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9. Governor Lester Maddox took credit for suggesting the two-day suspension of classes, in order to avert any further tragedies. In addition to suspending classes, the Board of Regents petitioned for a court injunction against any further demonstration at the University of Georgia, which was issued on Friday, May 8. Demonstrations at the university ceased with the issuance of the injunction.
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.
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Cite as: WSB-TV newsfilm clip of Governor Lester Maddox blaming his generation for the current social unrest as Students protesting Kent State, Georgia, 1970 May 13, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 1639, 7:54/09:03, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.