Hosea Williams, local and national Civil Rights leader, speaks about the compassionate community response seen in Sunday Mass Meetings that helped Savannah residents maintain their successful months long boycott against white businesses.

The Beginnings of the Boycott: Newspaper Article

NAACP Sunday Mass Meeting
"NAACP Slaps Easter Bunny at Mass Meeting"

From Vol 14 The Herald April 2, 1960

Nearly two thousand enthusiastic Negroes filled to overflowing the vast auditorium of the Greater St. James A.M.E. Church for the third mass meeting of the NAACP in support of economic freedom. The twenty-five young persons arrested and subsequently tried in City Police Court were on hand for introduction, as well as the group picketing downtown stores in protest of the lunch counter affair.

Hosea Williams, who has been acting chairman of the association’s committee of legal redress drew a pledge from all present that they would withhold all Easter purchases from downtown stores, in an effort to realize full integration of all facilities offered by these stores. Williams urged that everyone recognize picket lines formed by the association at downtown stores and not enter the store for any purpose.

The appeal for funds for legal action brought a public collection of more than seven hundred dollars and a number of NAACP memberships that represented both new members and increased donations on old memberships. The two hour session also heard in addition to Wesley W. Law and Williams, Charles Daley, president of the Savannah Youth Council of the NAACP, who expressed doubt the bi-racial committee formed by the Mayor. Daley humorously stated that unless given complete freedom, he would prefer “a nice funeral.”

Description

Take a trip into archives of the Museum and read a newspaper article from The Herald, a local Black-owned paper, published on April 2, 1960. The article announces the “call to action” to Boycott downtown Savannah stores, during a Mass Meeting at the Greater St. James A.M.E. Church.

Mass Meetings were community events organized by the local NAACP at churches throughout the Black community. They were an important resource of news from recent developments in the Civil Rights Movement.

The warm social atmosphere of the events also helped to strengthen the resolve of community members as they continued their struggle against the segregation of Jim Crow era Savannah laws.

Questions

1) Who was Hosea Williams?
2) What is the “call to action” Williams makes during the Mass Meeting?
3) Did the economic boycott of Savannah’s downtown stores have an impact? Could this happen today and would it be as effective?