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Anti-busing Marchers in Pontiac - 9-6-71

by Matt Delmont

Pontiac was propelled into the news at the end of August 1971 when members of the Ku Klux Klan dynamited ten empty school buses that were parked in the bus depot. The bus bombings prompted federal district court Judge Damon Keith, who issued the busing order, to warn, “this case will not be settled in the streets of Pontiac.” With tensions high in Pontiac, Irene McCabe led several hundred residents on a two mile protest march against the busing order from downtown Pontiac to Madison Junior High School in the Northeast section of the city. CBS and ABC covered the march, which presented television news camera people and viewers with easily identifiable images that differed sharply from the KKK’s vigilantly violence: orderly marchers with women and children foregrounded, dozens of U.S. flags, and clearly worded placards expressing support for the busing boycott (e.g., “Bury the bus, keep freedom alive,” and “Our kids like neighborhood schools”). After wide shots of the crowd walking towards the camera (CBS estimated six thousand marchers, ABC four thousand), both stations cut to footage of McCabe addressing the large crowd from an elevated platform at the junior high school.

Anti-busing Marchers in Pontiac - 9-6-71

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TV new coverage of anti-busing protest in Pontiac, Michigan

from CBS Evening News (1971)
Creator: CBS Evening News
Distributor: CBS
Posted by Matt Delmont