W.W. Law Collection


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Collection Details

Collection Dates: 2002
Scope and Content Note:

In 2001, Lisa Friedman York met W.W. Law and was inspired to create a documentary about his life. This collection comprises recorded interviews with Mr. Law and other Savannah area leaders, conducted by historian Cliff Kuhn, recorded for that purpose. The documentary has not been completed. Interviewees include: W.W. Law, Aaron Buschbaum, Dr. Clyde W. Hall, Edna Branch Jackson, Ida Mae Bryant, Rev. Edward Lambrellis, Richard Shinholster, Tessie Rosanna Law, Dr. Amos C. Brown, Mercedes Arnold Wright, Carolyn Coleman, E.J. Josey, Walter J. Leonard, and Judge H. Sol Clark.

Biographical Note:

Westley Wallace Law (January 1, 1923 - July 28, 2002) was a Savannah, Georgia native. He worked as a postman for 42 years and his passions were Civil Rights and the preservation of Black history and he devoted himself tirelessly to these causes. Law described his early childhood years as “dirt poor.” He worked to dismantle segregation from an early age as a member of the NAACP Youth Council, first in high school and then in college. He served in the army during World War II, attending college for one year while before being drafted and completing his education after leaving the Army. He worked as a mail carrier for more than four decades. He was an active member of First Bryan Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday School, and was scoutmaster of Troop 49 for many years.

 

Law, who became president of the Savannah NAACP in 1950, was one of the main leaders of the Savannah civil rights movement. He helped bring about the desegregation of Savannah’s public schools, lead meetings where he advocated for nonviolent, passive resistance to segregation, and worked with Savannah mayor Malcolm Maclean (elected in 1960) to bring about the desegregation of public libraires, store lunch counters, and other facilities. Law’s public civil rights advocacy led to him being fired from the postal service, but national NAACP leaders and President John F. Kennedy pushed back and his job was reinstated.

 

As president and founder of the Savanah-Yamacraw Branch of the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH) Mr. Law focused on the preservation of African-American heritage in his community by establishing the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, the Negro Heritage Trail, the King-Tisdell Cottage Museum, and the Beach Institute of African American Culture.

 

Lisa Friedman York is a voiceover artist based in Los Angeles. An admirer of W.W. Law, she funded the recording of interviews with Mr. Law and associates for the purpose of creating a documentary about his life.

 

 

Extent:

6 DVCPro videotapes

;

41 Betacam SP videotapes

Genre: Interviews
Subject Headings: Savannah (Ga.)
Provenance:

 

Donated by Lisa Friedman York

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