White members of the press were barred from entering the Bolton Street Baptist Church for a community event highlighting black mayoral candidates in Savannah, Georgia.
The sign on the church door was anything but subtle: “No media (T.V. Radio, etc.) Black Press Only!” All white reporters were prevented from entering the premises, while black reporters from two television stations, as well as the publisher of the Savannah Tribune newspaper, were permitted.
The Trigon consultant group was in charge of promoting the event, described as being “about supporting ONE candidate from the African American Community for Mayor 2019!” Both potential candidates in attendance are running in an attempt to beat incumbent Mayor Eddie Deloach — the first white mayor of Savannah in 20 years when he was elected.
Stephen Moody, a reporter with WJCL who attended the event, said that no recording of any kind was allowed. Savannah Alderman Van Johnson spoke at the meeting but did not address the access restrictions. “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 — one of the candidates defeated by Deloach — is making another run at the office. He also declined to comment on the event’s 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.”