This news report covers the 1984 mayoral race in Selma, AL. The two candidates are Rev. Frederick Reese, a black politician who fought for voting rights in the 1960s, and Joe Smitherman, the incumbent mayor of Selma.
0:24Copy video clip URL Beginning of a news report, with Elizabeth Brackett covering the mayoral race in Selma, AL. One of the candidates is Rev. Frederick Reese, a black politician who led the fight for voting rights in Selma in the 1960s. His opposition is Joe Smitherman, who had been the mayor of Selma during the voting rights marches in the 1960s.
2:17Copy video clip URL Brackett speaks to Reese about the Selma march and the events of Bloody Sunday. Reese recalls the day that Governor George Wallace called out the National Guard to Selma. Smitherman recalls the day differently, and says that the protesters’ decision to march to Montgomery was an attempt to keep the attention of the national press.
4:40Copy video clip URL Brackett speaks to three residents of Selma who remember Bloody Sunday. The three were known as the town liberals, and had been the targets of threats and vandalism. They wish that their efforts to relieve racial tension and avoid violence had been more successful.
6:16Copy video clip URL Within months after the march in Selma, the Voting Rights Act was passed. Reese believes that the confrontation on the bridge on Bloody Sunday was responsible for the election of many politicians, both black and white, in the country.
7:48Copy video clip URL Many white residents fear the loss of political power and “the loss of a way of life”. Brackett speaks to Judge Bernard Reynolds, who had fought to keep the “whites only” signs in Selma. He finds the prospect of a black mayor “frightening”, and thinks it would result in businesses closing and people moving away. Many white politicians in town “have tried to capitalize on white fear”, and Reese has had to combat those attacks.
10:56Copy video clip URL Brackett speaks to attorney and activist J. L. Chestnut, who is infuriated by Smitherman’s fear-mongering. Smitherman is campaigning for black votes, and says that black voters will support him because they know he is no longer a segregationist. Brackett speaks to Hank Sanders, the first black man to win a seat in the Alabama State Senate, who says the mayoral race depends on “who can turn out the most votes”.
14:03Copy video clip URL End of tape.