Syracuse Television News Film Collection

Cover Image:
Still from newsreel of Congress of Racial Equality protest in front of Niagara Mohawk building (May 6, 1965 6PM WSYR Broadcast)
Congress of Racial Equality protest in front of Niagara Mohawk building (May 6, 1965 6PM WSYR Broadcast) - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
1965 - 1972

Historical Context

The 1960s and 1970s were a turning point in Syracuse’s history. Syracuse’s physical and socioeconomic landscape significantly changed with a series of urban renewal projects and the construction of Interstate 81. The highway cut through the territory of the Onondaga Nation causing Indigenous protests. Interstate 81 also displaced thousands in Syracuse’s black community living in the 15th Ward, and further eroded housing access and quality. Syracuse schools were contending with integration and enrollment access. Civil rights, women’s rights, and the Vietnam War were hotly contested topics in Syracuse, as they were around the nation. Demonstrations were conducted by advocates for and against, and organizations grew and formed around these issues. In the following decades, “white flight” plagued the city and led to a decimated tax base, which furthered the socioeconomic inequities among the at risk communities most affected. 

Scope of Collection

This collection contains B-roll news films from 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. broadcasts of the NBC news station affiliate WSYR, which changed its call letters to WSTM in 1980. The films date from the  mid 1960s to 1978. The collection was given to the Onondaga Historical Association in the 1980s. What you are about to view is a small selection of a larger collection.

This selection covers the daily news stories in Onondaga County and the Onondaga Nation from 1965 to 1974, with an emphasis on activism and social justice history. This includes women’s reproductive rights, women’s rights, civil rights, sovereignty and rights of the Haudenosaunee and Onondagas, anti-war demonstrations, and urban renewal. Films from 1965 and 1966 are in black and white. Films after 1966 are in color. Not all the films have sound since they were additional footage.

It is also worth noting that the film is from the 1960s and 70s, verbiage used in the footage may not be considered appropriate by today’s standards.