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The KHOU-TV Collection - News Clips, April 14 - 17, 1968

Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Sound Intermittent | 1968

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  •  King March, 04/14/68: Mourners silently march through the streets of Houston before gathering in Emancipation Park for a memorial service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4. An estimated 2,500 people attended.  
  •  Texas State Senator Barbara Jordan addresses the crowd. “We must carry on the nonviolent spirit of Dr. King and let this be the occasion for Negroes to start again the life of our fallen leader,” she said.  
  •  Houston Mayor Louie Welch in the middle. Welch did not speak at the service, but was apparently booed loudly when Jordan introduced him. 
  •  The Reverend Earl Allen calls for “black unity under black leadership.” According to the Associated Press, Allen went on to describe Houston as a police state, demanding law enforcement drop the charges against the TSU Five. The TSU Five were a small group of Texas Southern University students charged with assault and murder following the violent confrontation between police officers and students in May 1967. A judge ultimately dismissed the case due to insufficient evidence. 
  •  Yarborough, 04/16/68: At a press conference in Austin, Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas turns down requests for him to seek leadership of the Texas delegation to the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Yarborough goes on to reject the state’s practice of choosing a “favorite son,” passionately calling for Texas to implement a presidential primary system. (The nomination of a favorite son was a political technique widely used in the 19th and 20th centuries to allow state leaders to negotiate with leading candidates over the support of their delegation.) Yarborough’s decision came after a heated exchange with Texas Governor John Connally. Both men received endorsements to serve as the state’s favorite son. Yarborough strongly opposed Connally’s nomination to the position, accusing the governor of supporting Republican candidates in the 1952 and 1956 elections. In response, Connally said Yarborough didn’t know the meaning of the word loyalty.  
  •  Post Office, 04/15/68 Houstonians drop off their income tax returns to a designated post office cart 
  •  Jones Injured, 04/15/68: A man describes how he and his wife were robbed  
  •  C.W.A. Pres. Joe Gunn, 04/15/68: A representative with the Communications Workers of America suggests that telephone companies should reduce their price rates should the labor organization strike as planned. In April 1968, some 200,000 CWA telephone workers went on a nationwide strike after the Bell System refused to agree to general wage increases. The strike lasted 18 days, with the Bell System agreed to a raise in wages and benefits.  
  •  Pasadena Killing, 04/17/68: Detective E. R. Means displays the rifle believed to have been used in the murder of Dr. Robert Pendleton. He then describes how law enforcement tracked down who owned the gun. On December 9, 1966, a sniper fatally shot Dr. Pendleton as he was exiting the Red Bluff General Hospital in Pasadena. Law enforcement arrested Robert Akridge and Delmonte Whitehurst on February 10, 1968. The following day, Harris County authorities extradited Roy Franklin Brashier from Jackson, Mississippi, where he was being held by the Hines County Sheriff’s Department. A grand jury indicted all three men on murder charges on February 13. Harris County District Attorney Carol Vance argued that someone hired the trio to commit the crime. Dr. Archie Burkhalter (Pendleton’s medical partner), James Oliver Steambarge, and Robert Tucker (an operating room technician) were later charged as accomplices to the murder. Akridge was convicted as the triggerman and sentenced to death. Tucker and Burkhalter were convicted as accomplices, and given 99 years and a life sentence, respectively.  
  •  Cochran Fatal Shooting, 04/17/68: Law enforcement and bystanders at the scene of a fatal shooting 
  •  Phone Strike, 04/17/68: Representatives with a local Bell System provider and the Communications Workers of America comment on what effect the strike will have on quality of service 
  •  Council, 04/17/68: At a meeting of the Houston City Council, residents testify about a proposed housing code 
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This film from KHOU-TV Channel 11 in Houston contains a series of short news segments that would have aired as highlights to news stories. Many are silent and would have been voiced over by the anchorperson during a live broadcast. The titles for each segment are the originals created by KHOU-TV. The clips on this reel all date from April 14 to 17, 1968. This series includes news segments about a local memorial service for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a pending strike by the Communications Workers of America, and developments in the murder investigation of Dr. Robert Pendleton. Also included is a news conference with Senator Ralph Yarborough.
The digital preservation of this collection was made possible by a grant to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image and the Houston Public Library from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Many more films from the KHOU-TV Collection are available on the Houston Public Library Houston Area Digital Archives website.
Barbara Jordan was born in Houston's Fifth Ward in 1936, the daughter of a Baptist minister and domestic worker. Jordan attended Texas Southern University, where she was a member of the debate team. She was the first woman to travel with the team, and along with debate partner Otis King, integrated tournaments in the South, consistently sweeping competitions. Jordan went on to attend Boston University School of Law, finishing in 1959. After practicing private law in Houston, she entered the political arena. Jordan became the first African American elected to the Texas Senate since 1883 and the first southern black woman elected to the United States House of Representatives. In 1976, Jordan was the first African-American woman to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, a speech that is still lauded as one of the best in modern history. After retiring from politics in 1979, Jordan taught ethics at the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Among many other honors, Jordan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994. In 1996, Barbara Jordan died of complications from pneumonia, a result of her battles with both multiple sclerosis and leukemia. She rests in the Texas State Cemetery, the first African-American woman to be buried there. 
Ralph Webster Yarborough, known as "Smilin' Ralph," was a U.S. senator representing Texas from 1957 through 1971. Yarborough was born in Chandler, Texas in 1903 as the seventh of nine children, and went on to attend Sam Houston State Teachers College as a young man before attending the University of Texas, where he graduated from the law school in 1927.
In 1931, Yarborough began a short but notable career as an assistant attorney general.  As an expert in Texas land law assigned to represent the interests of the Permanent School Fund, Yarborough won a number of cases against major oil companies such as Magnolia Petroleum and Mid-Kansas, through which he was able to guarantee that public schools and universities receive revenues from Texas oil.  This litigation has since brought billions of dollars to public education.
In 1938, Yarborough decided to run for attorney general but lost; it would take another 12 years for him to run for any kind of office again. In the interim, he served in the Texas National Guard and the U.S. Army during World War II. In 1952, running against conservative incumbent R. Allan Shivers for the governorship, Yarborough lost his second race. He continued this losing streak against Shivers in the 1954 primary and then again against Senator Marion Price Daniel, Sr. in 1956. In 1957, however, he was able to win Daniel's vacated seat in the senate next to Lyndon Baines Johnson.
In the senate, Yarborough pursued a progressive agenda, first refusing to sign the Southern Manifesto against desegregation and then being one of only five Southern senators to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1957. For the environment, he pushed through a bill to elevate Padre Island to the status of National Seashore.  For education, he introduced the first Bilingual Education Act in 1967, which was signed into law a year later.  He worked to expand health care funding and to extend the G.I. Bill to Cold War veterans.  In 1969, Yarborough chaired the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare.
Aside from his legislation, Ralph Yarborough is also remembered for riding in the 1963 Dallas motorcade in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  The story goes that, being at odds with several of the other politicians on the President's tour, Yarborough originally refused to share a car with LBJ, who was friends with his rivals. This so outraged Kennedy that on the morning of the motorcade he took Yarborough aside and threatened to end their friendship if Yarborough did not cooperate.  The senator conceded and ended up just two cars behind the president when he was fatally shot that afternoon.  When interviewed about that day, Yarborough described it as "the most tragic event of my life."
In 1970, Yarborough lost his seat in an upset election against Lloyd Bentsen. While he ran once more for office, he did not win again.
In 1996, Yarborough died at the age of 92. He is buried in Austin at the Texas State Cemetery.