Oral history interviews of W. W. Law, civil rights workers, and 20-century Savannah civil rights history are now available freely online  

Selected by statewide cultural heritage stakeholders and funded by the DLG’s competitive digitization grant program, this collection is the Walter J. Brown Media Archives’s fourth collaboration with the DLG and is available here: https://dlg.usg.edu/collection/ugabma_wwlaw.

The content for this project consists of oral history interview videos with W. W. Law and other Savannah, Georgia, community members involved in the Civil Rights movement. The tapes were shot just prior to Mr. Law’s death and are the longest and most detailed interviews he did on his life and career as a Civil Rights activist.

The footage was shot in 2001 by Lisa Friedman with the help of the late oral historian Cliff Kuhn for the purpose of creating a documentary on the life of W. W. Law. Although that project never came to completion, it still managed to yield important historical content about Savannah civil rights workers and community leaders, including Aaron Buschbaum, Dr. Clyde W. Hall, Edna Branch Jackson, Ida Mae Bryant, Rev. Edward Lambrellis, Richard Shinholster, Tessie Rosanna Law, Dr. Amos C. Brown, Mercedes Arnold Wright, Carolyn Coleman, E.J. Josey, Walter J. Leonard, and Judge H. Sol Clark.

W. W. Law was fired from his job working for the post office in 1961 because of his civil rights work but was reinstated after an intervention by NAACP leaders and U.S. President John F. Kennedy. As with all civil rights movements in American towns and cities, stories of lesser-known activists in the Civil Rights Movement and the historical impact made by community leaders like Law and the others interviewed in this project are invaluable for researchers interested in the history of civil rights in Georgia.

Luciana Spracher, director of the City of Savannah Municipal Archives,  defines the importance of digital access to this content and the stewardship of this audiovisual work that was granted to the Brown Media Archives and made accessible through this DLG subgrant:

The City of Savannah Municipal Archives’s W. W. Law Collection represents his life’s work, as left behind by him at the time of his death in 2002. The Walter J. Brown and Peabody Awards Collection’s collection of W. W. Law material includes video interviews where Mr. Law discussed his life and legacy less than a year before his death, as well as interviews with people, well-represented in the papers of our collections that document civil rights activities in Savannah. Both collections complement and enhance understanding of the other. The opportunity to hear these individuals recall the events represented in our collections is invaluable to students and historians who are studying and learning from them. Greater discoverability of the interviews online will assist researchers in seeking insight into the Civil Rights Movement in Savannah, as well as the larger Movement in Georgia and the United States.”

[View the entire collection online]


About the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection:

The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection is home to more than 350,000 analog audiovisual items, over 5,000,000 feet of newsfilm, and over 200,000 digital files. It is the third-largest broadcasting archive in the country, behind only the Library of Congress and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. The Archives comprise moving image and sound collections that focus on American television and radio broadcasting and Georgia’s music, folklore, and history; this includes local television news and programs, audio folk music field tapes, and home movies from rural Georgia. In the Peabody Collection alone, there are more than 50,000 television programs and more than 39,500 radio programs. Its mission is to preserve, protect, and provide access to the moving image and sound materials that reflect the collective memory of broadcasting and the history of the state of Georgia and its people. Learn more at libs.uga.edu/media/index.html

About the Digital Library of Georgia

The Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) serves as Georgia’s statewide cultural heritage digitization initiative. It is a joint project between the University of Georgia Libraries and GALILEO. The DLG collaborates with Georgia’s cultural heritage and educational institutions to provide free online access to historic resources on Georgia. The DLG not only develops, maintains, and preserves digital collections and online resources, but also partners to build digitization capacity and technical infrastructure. It acts as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and facilitates cooperative digitization initiatives. The DLG serves as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, Georgia’s print journalism preservation project.

Visit our website at dlg.usg.edu
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Title : [wwlaw-0010] Interview with W. W. Law, Part 2 of 2 ; B-Roll of Green Meldrim House and Beach Institute African-American Cultural Center. Image courtesy of the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection
Title :  [wwlaw-0042] Interview with Mercedes Arnold Wright, Part 3 of 3 ; B-Roll footage of still photographs with voiceover. Image courtesy of the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection


Fifty Years of Speakers Honored at the University of Georgia School of Law Now Available Online

The University of Georgia Alexander Campbell King Law Library Archive and Special Collections and the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) have made 50 years of UGA School of Law speaker and lecture materials available freely online. The presenters are well-known national and state political figures, influential legal leaders, and current and former School of Law students and professors.

The collection features photographs of U.S. and Georgia political and legal figures during the latter part of the 20th century. Former President Jimmy Carter; U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas; and U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Dean Rusk are among the prominent national figures. Important legal leaders include Lawrence Lessig, Brooksley Born, and Sarah Weddington. Georgia politicians include former Governors Carl Sanders, Roy Barnes, and Zell Miller; U.S. Senators Max Cleland and Sam Nunn; among others.

Christian Lopez, the head of Oral History and Media and the Oral History Program at the  Richard B. Russell Library, outlines the significance to those researching Georgia’s legal and political history:

“This free and searchable body of images from Georgia’s oldest law school will aid those studying economics, immigration, education, desegregation, race, gender, and more. The photographs document the School of Law’s historical impact on the state during the period from the 1950s to the early 2000s.”

The King Law Library’s Metadata Services and Special Collections Librarian Rachel Evans welcomes questions about the project and can be reached at rsevans@uga.edu.

About the University of Georgia Alexander Campbell King Law Library Archives & Special Collections

The mission of the Archives and Special Collections at the University of Georgia Alexander Campbell King Law Library is to collect, preserve, and share the history of the University of Georgia School of Law, including all members of its community–students, graduates, faculty, and staff–and their contributions to the state and society. Visit law.uga.edu/library to search the library’s catalog and other resources; explore the School of Law’s institutional repository collections at digitalcommons.law.uga.edu; or browse highlights from the library’s physical and digital collections via the digital exhibit site at digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/exhibit.

Selected images:

Image courtesy of University of Georgia Alexander Campbell King Law Library Archives & Special Collections. Photograph of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1961 Law Day Address at the University of Georgia School of Law showing Kennedy at the podium with University of Georgia School of Law Dean  J. Alton Hosch and University of Georgia President O.C. Aderhold in the background. The transcript of the speech is available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/lectures_pre_arch_lectures_lawday/48/
Image courtesy of University of Georgia Alexander Campbell King Law Library Archives & Special Collections. Flier for the 92nd John A. Sibley Lecture, held at the University of Georgia School of Law on October 31, 2000. The lecture was delivered by Horace T. Ward, the first African American student to challenge the racially discriminatory practices at the University of Georgia and the first African American to serve as a  judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.




Image courtesy of University of Georgia Alexander Campbell King Law Library Archives & Special Collections. Photograph of attorney, law professor, Carter administration staffer, and former Texas State Representative Sarah Weddington, best known for representing “Jane Roe” in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, speaking to an audience. She delivered the University of Georgia School of Law’s 24th Edith House Lecture, titled “Some Leaders Are Born Women,” on March 23, 2006. Inaugurated in 1983, the Edith House Lecture Series brings outstanding female legal scholars and practitioners to the University of Georgia School of Law.
Image courtesy of University of Georgia Alexander Campbell King Law Library Archives & Special Collections. Photograph (front side) of Max Cleland, then the U.S. Veterans Administration director, seated at a dais onstage at the University of Georgia School of Law, where he delivered the commencement address on June 6, 1978. Transcribed from the back of the photo: “Max Cleland, graduation speaker.”