A Wednesday night event that was coordinated the Savannah, Ga. Black community around a single Black mayoral candidate drew a lot of attention after signs were posted along the meeting place – a church in this case – firmly stating that only Black Press would be allowed entry.
According to the Savannah Morning News, the signs proclaiming “Black Press Only” were on the doors of Bolton Street Baptist Church, in the event that was organized by Rev. Clarence Teddy Williams, who owns the consulting firm the Trigon Group.
Despite the policy boldly posted on the church’s doors, those who attended the event declined to comment on the sign.
Rev. Williams did not discuss the policy. Former Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson and Chatman County Commissioner Chester Ellis both of whom attended the event also declined to offer a response.
“This is not my idea,” Ellis said.
White reporters were denied entry, however, while at least two Black reporters and a Black publisher of a local Black-owned newspaper were granted entry.
No photos, video or audio recordings were allowed in the meeting, although reporters could take notes.
However, Savannah Alderman Van Johnson, one of three African-Americans who has announced a campaign so far told reporters afterward that he spoke about his vision for a more inclusive and progressive Savannah.
However, he too declined to talk about the Black press only policy.
“It’s not my meeting,” Johnson said. “I was asked to come and give a statement, so I came and I gave a statement. What I said in there, I’ll say out here.”
Louis Wilson, who ran an unsuccessful mayoral campaign in 2015 and is throwing his hat in the race again, also spoke at the meeting. He, too, declined to talk about the press policy.
“I didn’t plan the meeting so I can’t comment on that part,” he said. “I came to say what I had to say.”
Former State. Sen. Regina Thomas, who is also Black, did not attend the meeting. However, Thomas believes that she can win even if there is another Black candidate.
“I’m encouraged every day by people of all persuasions,” Thomas said.