The Children Were Watching

1961, 26 mins


Robert Drew

Executive Producer

Richard Leacock

Filmmaker - Producer

Kenneth Snelson


Lee Hall


Gregory Shuker


Zina Voynow


Stephen Schmidt


Joseph Julian



"A first rate documentary this."

Marie Torre, New York Herald Tribune

"...hard-hitting documents, sometimes stepping on the toes of some viewers."

Broadcasting Magazine

"The films, occasionally beclouded, and the sound track, occasionally difficult to comprehend, added up, despite these deficiencies, to thirty hard-hitting minutes that were not diluted by trying to please everyone."

Richard F. Shepard, The New York Times

"A bold editorial in impressive, often frightening, terms"

Richard F. Shepard, The New York Times

A 1961 Drew Associates classic, Richard Leacock photographs the first week of school integration in New Orleans, which is marked by violent demonstrations of hatred by white parents as their children look on, a vision of how prejudice is passed on, one divided generation passing its legacy of conflict to the next.

Children Yolanda Gabrielle escorted by mom

Six-year-old Yolanda Gabrielle, escorted by her mother, becomes the target of the taunts of a crowd of shouting segregationists as she makes her way to school, one of the few white children to continue attending after four African-American students were admitted to her first-grade class. Tessie Prevost, also 6, receives the protection of U.S. Marshals to enter and leave the nearly empty school, as do the other three African-American children. The ugly crowd swarms the Gabrielle’s home after school, and Yolanda’s father comes home only to tell his wife that he’s been provoked by angry co-workers to quit his job.

Children woman hits camera

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