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Theodore Landsmark condemns violence and racism after the attack at City Hall Plaza
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Program:
[Theodore Landsmark press conference]
Original Airdate: 4/7/1976

Length: 00:19:08
Item Type: newstape - original footage


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Full Description

1:00:04
Visual: A group of African American men greet each other at the entrance of the room where Theodore Landsmark (attorney) will hold a press conference. Landsmark enters the room. His nose and face are bandaged with white tape. An African American woman hands him a note as he enters. Landsmark sits down behind a table with microphones. An African American man sits beside him. A group of African American men and women, and a few white people, stand behind him as he speaks. Reporters sit at the other side of the table and stand around the room. The reporters take notes as Landsmark speaks.

1:02:00
V: Landsmark notes that there has been conflict among the media over coverage of the press conference; that he wants both union and non-union members of the media to cover the press conference; that the media needs to work out the union issues outside of the press conference. Landsmark greets the media and reads a statement. He says that the press conference will be brief because he needs to get some rest; that he lost a lot of blood in the attack. Landsmark says that he is concerned that the publicity generated by the attack may distort some of the crucial issues which need to be discussed. Landsmark runs through the sequence of events on the day of the attack. Landsmark says that he was on his way to an affirmative action committee meeting with the Boston Redevelopment Authority; that he was beaten and kicked by a crowd of young people coming from an anti-busing rally at City Hall. Landsmark refutes rumors that Clarence Jones (Deputy Mayor, City of Boston) had been with him and ran away from the scene. Landsmark says that he regrets the circulation of the false reports regarding Jones; that Jones was the only person who left City Hall to aid him after the attack. Landsmark says that he will seek full prosecution of the youth involved in the attack; that he will take action in civil and criminal court against members of the Boston City Council and the Boston School Committee; that he would like to see an end to the use of City Hall as "a sanctuary for racism and a resource center for those who would incite and encourage racist violence."
Landsmark says that some city officials perpetuate discrimination against people of color in Boston on a daily basis. Landsmark expresses gratitude to members of the African American and white communities for the many acts of kindness and courage shown to him after the attack. Landsmark adds that meaningful gestures by the white community before the attack could have prevented the violence. Landsmark says that he is grateful for the support of the Black Caucus, the Board of Directors of the Contractors Association of Boston, and the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association. Landsmark thanks the newspaper and TV cameramen for capturing the attack on film. He says that he wishes that somebody had come to his aid, but is grateful for the record of the attack provided by the journalists. Landsmark says that without the photos, the attack would have been recorded "as just another scuffle on the street." Landsmark says that racism is to blame for the attack; that racism in the city of Boston has been fueled by selfish politicians; that politicians continue to ignore the social and economic problems of the city. Landsmark says that he will work to solve these problems in the African American community; that solving these problems will benefit all citizens. Landsmark says that the attack lays bare the problems of the city; that the problems go beyond issues of safety in the street or busing. Landsmark notes that the attack has been called "an isolated incident" by J. Stanley Pottinger (Assistant US Attorney General). Landsmark says that he does not agree; that people of color must be allowed to participate on an equal basis in all areas and levels of business and city government. Landsmark says that the issue of racism must not be subordinated; that the white power structure is indifferent to people of color in the city; that businesses and government must work together to improve the economic situation of people of color in Boston.

1:15:29
V: Reporters ask Landsmark questions after his statement. A reporter asks him to specify city officials against whom he will bring suit. Landsmark says that he will not name the officials because he does not want to jeopardize any of the lawsuits. A reporter asks him if he will bring suit against Louise Day Hicks (Boston City Council). Landsmark says that he will not comment except that his attackers were violating truancy laws; that his attackers were marching on City Hall Plaza without a parade permit. Landsmark notes that Hicks invited the protestors into her office to escape from the cold; that police officers were on duty near City Hall Plaza, but did not arrive on the scene until after the attack. Landsmark says that he cannot comment on how the police department should have deployed its personnel to control the unlicensed protest on City Hall Plaza by the students. A reporter asks Landsmark if he agrees with the Black Caucus' decision to call for the resignation of Kevin White (Mayor, City of Boston). Landsmark says that the Black Caucus is looking for better leadership from White on issues of affirmative action, busing, and unemployment. Landsmark says that he has received calls from around the country; that many are appalled by the incident on City Hall Plaza; that the city can take action to prevent more violent incidents.


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