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'Black press only': White reporters barred from meeting attended by mayoral candidates in Georgia

Posted at 9:49 AM, Mar 29, 2019

White reporters were barred from attending a meeting in Savannah, Georgia, where community leaders discussed upcoming mayoral elections, the Savannah Morning News reports.

Signs on the door of the Bolton Street Baptist Church in Savannah proclaimed "Black Press Only." Other signs indicated that audio and video recordings were not allowed.

At least one white reporter was barred from entering. The Associated Press reports that two black reporters from local TV stations were permitted to attend.

The Morning News reports that the meeting was organized by Rev. Clarence Teddy Williams, the owner of a consulting group called The Trigon Group. WTOC-TV reports that the meeting was discuss supporting a single African-American candidate in the upcoming election.

According to USA Today, Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach was the first white man to be elected mayor in Savannah in 20 years when he took office in 2016.

The meeting was attended by two of the city's three black mayoral candidates — Savannah Alderman Van Johnson and Louis Wilson, who ran for mayor in 2015.

Johnson told the Morning News that "he believed people have the right to assemble and determine the rules of their assembly," but also clarified that he did not host the meeting or set the rules.

The third black candidate, Regina Thomas, told WTOC that she did not attend the meeting because she felt it was "too polarizing."