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WDBJ September Showdown Interview with Oliver Hill and Robert L. Carter
(WDBJ Television, Roanoke, VA)

WDBJ reporter John Meredith Patterson asked Oliver Hill about the "September showdown." Hill responded that the "attitude and policies" of the Commonwealth might precipitate confrontation in September. Hill believed that the "more sensible" elements of the communities in Virginia will ultimately stand with "law and order" and comply with the court decrees to integrate schools. When asked if the NAACP had picked Virginia as its "battleground," NAACP Chief Counsel Robert L. Carter replied that it had not. Carter said the NACCP did not pick Virginia or any state as its battleground for school desegregation litigation. Rather, Virginia's Democratic Party, Carter argued, refused to enforce "the law of the land." Asked about the anti-NAACP laws Virginia passed in 1956, Carter admitted that the anti-NAACP law had a "detrimental effect" on the organization. NAACP members, for example, feared that their names would be given to public officials, and possibly result in violence or loss of employment. However, Carter told WDBJ that a federal district court in Virginia had ruled that the anti-NAACP law unconstitutional. Carter also discussed the $100,000 fine imposed by the state of Alabama on the NACCP for failure to turnover its membership list. The penalty was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. According to Carter, attempts to "frighten" people away from the NAACP had been "halted" for now. Carter also believed "a resurgence" would occur in NAACP membership. Asked what would occur in September in Charlottesville, Norfolk, Newport News, and Arlington, NAACP state counsel Oliver Hill said he hoped that school district leaders would abide by the court order and desegregate schools. Hill argued that the use of "so-called massive resistance" to avert school desegregation would result in "massive efforts" to overturn it. Hill said that any "resurgence" in litigation would be a tactic "forced upon us" by the state.
About the film
  • Date: July 13, 1958
  • Sound: Yes
  • Duration: 06:44
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