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The KHOU-TV Collection - News Clips, August 13 - 21, 1968

Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Sound | 1968

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  •  Blossom Heights, 08/15/68: Scenes around the Blossom Heights neighborhood in southwest Houston. In July 1968, the mayor’s office installed a two-room trailer in Blossom Heights Park to better address the community’s needs. The mobile city hall, known as “Project Uplift,” was intended to make city services more accessible for residents of underprivileged communities.  
  •  Barbed-wire fence separating the predominately white neighborhood of Tanglewilde with the predominantly African- and Mexican-American neighborhood of Blossom Heights 
  •  Mayor on Airport, 08/14/68: At a press conference, Houston Mayor Louie Welch gives an update about the construction of Houston Intercontinental Airport. The airport was originally scheduled to open in April 1967. Disputes over the delay became a major headache for the Houston City Council. The airport, now known as George Bush Intercontinental Airport, eventually opened in June 1969.  
  •  HS Gal Council, 08/14/68: Meeting of the Houston City Council 
  •  Councilman Lee McLemore, who served 10 consecutive terms on the Houston City Council friom 1952 to 1972 
  •  Councilman Bill Elliott 
  •  Seabrook, 08/21/68: Meeting of the Seabrook City Council. In August 1968, the Citizens Committee of Seabrook finished a month-long investigation into the controversial resignation of Police Chief Leroy Wilcox. The city council had allegedly forced Wilcox to resign after he made repeated unsubstantiated statements accusing Councilman Ray Stamper of stealing water from the city water system. In its special report, presented on August 20, the committee found that while Stamper paid water and sewer tap fees, a water meter was never installed on his house. The report concluded with a reproach of both Stamper for not having a meter and Wilcox for discussing police matters publicly.  
  •  Check, 08/21/68: An unidentified man comments on the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. On the night of August 20, approximately 200,000 communist troops from five Warsaw Pact nations–the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, and Poland–invaded Czechoslovakia. The invading force detained government leaders and transported them to Moscow, as well as seized control of Prague television and radio stations. More than 120 Czechoslovakian civilians were killed, most of them protesters. The attack was intended to crush the democratic reforms of the “Prague Spring,” a brief period of liberalization in the otherwise communist country. On August 27, Czechoslovakia’s First Secretary Alexander Dubček returned to Prague and announced he had agreed to curtail his progressive reforms. Dubček was forced to resign in April 1969 following anti-Soviet riots.  
  •  Pasadena Bonds, 08/20/68: A voter casts her ballot in Pasdena’s $8,675,000 bond election. An unidentified woman then explains what is at stake should voters not approve the bonds propositions. The ballot encompassed five propositions: $3.5 million in water revenue bonds, $2,325,000 in sewer revenue bonds, $2 million in street bonds, $600,000 for drainage, and $25,000 for a new fire station. Pasadena voters approved all five proposals.  
  •  Seabrook Flap, 08/20/68: Approximately 150 Seabrook residents fill the Seabrook Community Center to hear the special report by the Citizens Committee of Seabrook about the controversial resignation of Chief Wilcox. An unidentified man then explains that he agrees with Wilcox’s dismissal but disagrees with the method by which it was executed.  
  •  Fireman Retires, 08/21/68: Firefighters and other Houston Fire Department personnel celebrate the retirement of Captain W. Q. Rothwell, who had been with the department since 1926 
  •  08/21/68: After failing to receive the Republican Party’s nomination for president during the Republican National Convention, Ronald Reagan speaks to supporters at the Barcelona Hotel in Miami, Florida. The Barcelona served as the unofficial headquarters for the 56-member Texas delegation and the state GOP staff. The Republican National Convention took place at the Miami Beach Convention Center from August 5 to 8.  
  •  08/21/68: Third-party presidential candidate George Wallace addresses a capacity crowd of 12,500 during a campaign rally at Houston’s Delmar Stadium. Wallace made a 10-hour visit to Houston on August 6 before flying on to Montgomery, Alabama. Earlier in the day, he first attended a fundraising dinner at the Rice Hotel.  
  •  The Republican National Convention was held in Miami while the Democratic National Convention was in Chicago 
  •  Wallace rose to national prominence through his opposition to racial integration as governor of Alabama. In 1963, he blocked the entrance to Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in a symbolic attempt to prevent two African-American students from enrolling. The incident, later known as the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door,” prompted President John F. Kennedy to federalize the Alabama National Guard to command Wallace to step aside. In the 1968 presidential election, Wallace ran as the American Independent Party candidate on a segregationist platform. He did not expect to win the race, but sought to garner enough electoral votes to prevent either major party candidate from winning the necessary majority. The House of Representatives would then decide the election, and Wallace hoped that southern states could use their influence to halt federal desegregation efforts. Wallace won five states, amassing 46 Electoral College votes. Republican candidate Richard Nixon nevertheless acquired enough electoral votes, 301, to handily win the election. 
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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 August 13 to 21, 1968. This series features news segments about the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan at the Republican National Convention, and a campaign rally for third-party candidate George Wallace.
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.
Politician Louie Welch was born in Lockney, Texas, on December 9, 1918. He received a degree in history from Abilene Christian College, now Abilene Christian University.
Welch began his political career in 1950, serving four terms on the Houston City Council. He unsuccessfully sought the Houston mayoral office three times before being elected to the position in 1963. Houston grew immensely during Welch’s five terms as mayor, from the population topping one million people to the opening of the Astrodome in 1965 and the Houston Intercontinental Airport in 1969. 
His tenure, however, was not without its controversy. A 1967 conflict between police and Texas Southern University students created a rift between the local administration and many of Houston’s African Americans. Welch’s reputation also came under fire during his last term over his relationship with well-known crime leaders, leading to suspicions about how his second mayoral bid was financed. 
In 1985, Welch ran for mayor again, campaigning in opposition to the extension of job protection rights to homosexuals employed by the city government. He lost to incumbent Kathy Whitmore. 
Welch died from lung cancer on January 27, 2008 in his Harris County residence. He was 89.