Reporter: Singer, Don.
In this WSB newsfilm clip dated November 26, 1972, Georgia governor Jimmy Carter is interviewed by reporter Don Singer at an event at the Georgia governor's mansion. Carter expresses support for a recent court ruling that has suspended the implementation of school busing to achieve desegregation in the Atlanta school system; he also expresses a desire for new gubernatorial leadership in Georgia when his term ends. There are also several scenes of event staff and guests in attendance at the governor's party.
The clip is divided into three segments, all filmed at the governor's mansion in Atlanta. The first section of the clip begins with Georgia governor Jimmy Carter responding to a question about school busing posed by WSB reporter Don Singer. The question is not captured in the recording, and Carter's response to it is only partially recorded. Carter expresses that "they" are seeking some way to guarantee a way for black and white children to obtain "a superior education and lack of discrimination and unfairness without the mandatory moving of students from one part of a city to another." Confessing "this is not an easy question to answer," Carter expresses support for the position of the courts, who, in his opinion, appear to have eased up on the enforcement of busing to achieve desegregation in schools. Here, he is presumably referring to the recent stay issued by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to halt desegregation plans that included citywide busing for students in the Atlanta school system. Carter claims to have "always opposed the massive busing of students to achieve any sort of artificial racial balance," and believes it is bad for both black and white students. He also disagrees with busing because it "removes the parents from influence and from the participation in the community school environment." Next, reporter Don Singer notes that Governor Carter will propose a bill to the state legislature requesting forty-five-million dollars of state aid for education; with this money, Carter hopes to improve equal opportunity and education for Georgia students.
The second section of the clip is b-roll footage of the event at the Governor's mansion, which includes several groups of the Governor's guests mingling together around tables where food and drinks are being served. There are several closeups of event attendees, including a pianist and a woman serving drinks from a punchbowl.
The third section of the clip begins with a shot of Governor Carter at the entrance of the governor's mansion greeting guests as they arrive at the event; this is followed by more b-roll footage of the event, which includes assorted shots of guests being served punch, speaking to Governor Carter, and fraternizing together. The b-roll footage ends, and the camera returns to reporter Don Singer interviewing Governor Carter. Carter responds to a question from Singer that was not recorded, presumably about the governor's re-election plans. Carter answers "No, I don't see that as a possibility," and smiles. Singer follows up with the previous question by asking the governor "why not;" Carter replies that he thinks that, after the next legislative session, he will have completed everything that he has set out to do, and that he will have fulfilled "every promise" that he has made to the people of Georgia. He says"we have had unbelievably good luck in the legislature getting our programs passed," and notes that the state will be in good shape for the next two years. Out of the next legislative session, he anticipates a substantial reduction in taxes, a "big goal" of his, specifically in regards to property taxes. He professes that to return would be "anticlimactic," and asserts that Georgia needs "a new kind of leadership." He notes "Georgia never has been willing to bring back an ex-governor," and expresses hope that Georgia voters will not do so in the future (referring to Georgia gubernatorial term limitations as defined by the Georgia Constitution, which restricted governors to serving one four-year term; the state constitution was amended in 1977, at which point governors were permitted to serve two consecutive terms). At the end of his last statement, Carter smiles broadly at Singer, the audio drops from the clip, and the clip ends.
Attempts to desegregate the Atlanta schools and implement Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas began as early as the 1958 desegregation lawsuit Calhoun v. Latimer. However, sustained resistance from the Atlanta Board of Education and segregationist state and local government officials necessitated decades of constant legal pressure before meaningful integration of the school system was achieved. In 1971, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of busing to achieve integration in the case Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. Following Swann's precedent, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund submitted a desegregation plan to Atlanta's district courts that included busing and hiring strategies to eliminate all single-race schools, and improve African American faculty and staff ratios throughout the school system. The board, opposed to the scale of the proposal, offered instead to increase the number of new positions for black administrators. In June of 1972, the Legal Defense Fund rejected the school board's compromise, and the district courts rejected the Legal Defense Fund's plan. The Legal Defense Fund appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and bolstered their efforts by consolidating the Calhoun v. Latimer case (now Calhoun v. Cook) with an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) case, Armour v. Nix, seeking desegregation in a new, federated school system that would incorporate Atlanta's African American schools inside the city, and the new "white flight" schools established in the northernmost and southernmost suburbs of Fulton County. The joining of these two lawsuits precipitated Fifth Circuit rulings in both August and October of 1972 that ordered compliance with Swann, as well as more extensive faculty and staff integration. In November of 1972, however, implementation of these rulings was halted after the Fifth Circuit issued a stay order pending the resolution of several similar desegregation cases in other cities.
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 Jimmy Carter opposed to busing to achieve desegregation, Atlanta, Georgia, 1972 November 26, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 1884, 37:12/38:23, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.