Segregation is back. But now this is supposed to be the “good kind” of progressive segregation.
With signs stating “Black press only” on the doors of the church where the meeting was held, white reporters were barred from entry, while black reporters for at least two television stations were permitted inside.
The event was coordinated by the Rev. Clarence Teddy Williams, owner of the consulting firm, The Trigon Group, who declined to discuss the entry policy.
Former Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson declined to comment before going inside, as did Chatham County Commissioner Chester Ellis.
Savannah Alderman Estella Shabazz, who also attended, said that she had once owned a newspaper and she was a member of the black press, but she declined to comment – when repeatedly pressed – on the policy barring white reporters from going inside.
While notes were allowed, photos, video and audio recordings were prohibited during the event, according to Stephen Moody, an African-American reporter with WJCL who was allowed entry. Another reporter from WSAV who attended the meeting was told she could stay because she was black, Moody said.
Shirley James, the African-American publisher of the black-owned Savannah Tribune, was also seen going into the meeting.
Savannah Alderman Van Johnson, who is one of three African-Americans who have stated their intention to run for mayor, said afterwards that during the meeting he had talked about his vision for an inclusive and progressive Savannah. With regards to the discriminatory policy at the door, Johnson said that he believed people have the right to assemble and determine the rules of their assembly.
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