“Black press only!”
This was the warning emblazoned on the glass doors of a Savannah church, where an event associated with a Georgia mayoral race took place Wednesday.
Also Scotch-taped to the doors of the Historic Bolton Street Missionary Baptist Church: “No audio or video recording!” And “no media (TV, radio, etc…).”
White political reporters were absolutely S.O.L. As noted by the AP, organizers convening to powwow about an upcoming mayoral race forbid anyone who isn’t black from entering the premises. As reported by the Savannah Morning News, white reporters were barred entry to God’s house while two black reporters were allowed in. TV cameras and recording devices were also absolutely forbidden.
Rev. Clarence Teddy Williams refused to comment to the local newspaper on why white reporters were shunned. Williams organized the event and was a part of a decision making process that concluded that white press was bad news.
But the racial details of the race may give you some idea.
Mayor Eddie DeLoach, who is white, is the town’s first mayor in two decades. Come November, he’s throwing his hat in the ring to continue being mayor. Three black candidates are also vying for the job. At least two of those candidates showed up to the meeting that allowed only black press.
According to the Savannah newspaper, Savannah Tribune‘s Shirley James, a black publisher, was permitted to attend.
In an incredible act of racism, Savannah Alderman Van Johnson, who is black and running for mayor, said people have the right to do what they want to do. He claimed it was not his meeting, so not his rules.
Louis Wilson, the other black mayoral hopeful, also claimed that it wasn’t his meeting.
The Mirror reached out to a reverend at the church to ask questions.
No one picked up the phone and there was no answering machine.