Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth (1996) (5 of 5)

BCRI Oral History Collection
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HUNTLEY: The second march-


HUNTLEY: From Selma to Montgomery. And you were there.

SHUTTLESWORTH: I was there in all of it. We should've called the people to come from all over, because we had to have it out, you see. That if the policeman would beat the heck out of us marching, they would beat the heck out of priests, and nuns, and so forth.

HUNTLEY: Oh my god.

SHUTTLESWORTH: This presented one of the great dilemmas for our country at that time. And there are so many things we leaving out of this, and with Selma and all this stuff. But let's get through this anyway. So, it was determined that 00:01:00the march had to be done. We met at the Brown Chapel, and we were getting together, and I remember one night when the Government Nations service being, what? 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning, we set up two days.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Then we're trying to convince Doctor King and others with us that we should not run. But you see, we had all these rabbis, and priests, and everybody. Several of them was looking at me. And we couldn't go back. And I remember the government people trying to investigate us.

HUNTLEY: This is the federal government?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Oh yes. Federal agents says it's wrong. So, finding a way that we could appease. I said, "We cannot appease the people," because we look like we would be justified. The power struck and even old women, he's beat. And even the 00:02:00President of the United States had to speak out again. And I believe I was in the critical decision. Martin, and Ralph, and me, and several more of us, when we had to finally say, "We must go." Well, we had another problem. If you start out marching, we have to... They asked one of us to go to Montgomery. And this ended right across the bridge.

HUNTLEY: It was just right-

SHUTTLESWORTH: Which brings a lot of nuances that we have to discuss. So, we finally got started. And Governor Wallace let us get across the bridge. But as 00:03:00we had gotten across the bridge, we were over on the side that when traffic comes this way, meeting us. And I don't know why it happened that way, but I do know that Wallace was setting up a confrontation where we would be in violation if we walked... Had we been on the other side of the road, it might've been different, but we had to decide... And all of us, still, they were really discussing... I'm going to be honest with you. And I realized some of the decisions that Doctor King... some of the problems he had. Or any leaders. Because sometime, you have to figure on the moment, what's best to do. You can't go and discuss... Now, the students wanted us to come back and discuss what we were going to do. Which you would've had to have anyway. If the police said that you're under arrest, you can't go back and discuss the lines stretched across 00:04:00the river. So, I went up front, and it just so happened that the law would have... I was going to be sure to be with Martin and Ralph, because I knew when we got across the river and face down, and I saw all those troops were standing.

There were at least, what? Six or eight deep across. They were about half a mile, I guess, from the bridge. I can't remember exactly now. And when I was on the bridge, I said, "Well Martin, a big decision's got to be made." I said, "Now, you're not going to go to Montgomery and see them." I said, "We have to make a decision. I don't know whether you want to do what," with everybody, in particular, the students were rallying for us to go on, whether we go through the line or what, that was to Selma. So, we got up to the police, and as long as 00:05:00the police were battering to us, we weren't going to walk through them anyway, in Montgomery. All of the sudden-

HUNTLEY: But no decision had been made?

SHUTTLESWORTH: No decision had been made. We were going to go as far as we could go. But we couldn't walk through them, unless they moved out of the way. All of a sudden, they moved out, and they started moving out. And I said to Martin, "Now here, they've trapped the government. The government's going to come back and get us for blocking traffic on the wrong side of the highway. We'd be better off if we were on the other side." I said, "You've got to make up your mind now to go back, and turn around, and try to get on the other side or something."

And so, when they finally realized that they were gone, then Martin, I don't 00:06:00think he even thought about this. [inaudible 00:06:05]. I said, "Does it appear to you they're moving out voluntarily, so we faced our own rush of traffic. What do you do?" So, we made a decision. And you've got to make it now. And you can't send one of us back to the end of the line. You've got to make it. And I think that's when we stood there and prayed, and Martin said, "Well, there's nothing to do but go back, because we can't go through this traffic."

And they were not... the troopers were not lined up to help us go through the traffic and hold the traffic. I said, "You see, they're not with us. So, you have to decide what to do." I said, "It's your decision to make, but I don't see nothing we can do now, but go back, or go up, and then to,"... the governor tried us with obstruction of traffic. Ralph said the same thing. He said, "Well, 00:07:00if they don't move the traffic over, then you can't go." But it was beautiful what we did, but I was hurt and grimaced at the amount of-

HUNTLEY: Of what?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Of... there's good people-

HUNTLEY: Who have [inaudible 00:07:24] this [inaudible 00:07:25].

SHUTTLESWORTH: Oh yes. Oh. And particularly young people.

HUNTLEY: Because I can remember seeing scenes of it, where you kneel to pray.

SHUTTLESWORTH: I kneeled to pray.

HUNTLEY: And Ralph prayed.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Ralph prayed.

HUNTLEY: And Martin was on his knees, and it obvious that you were trying to really contemplate it.

SHUTTLESWORTH: And I was saying to him, "Now, you're going to have to get up and just do what you have to do. You can decide for us go, and the government can try to,"... Segregationists were not above anything. They could've used any of those several traffic tricks to stop this march. And I said, "We've got to face 00:08:00it. You can ask them to move the traffic out the way." He said, "They're not going to do it." And so, all that traffic was behind them. And you've seen the pictures. And they were at least, oh, I guess they were eight deep across that thing. So, all of the sudden, without anything, they just, "We're gone." I said, "It's in our hands. What do we do?" I said, "I don't see nothing to do now, but to go back. Ask the man to help us and give us some directions, because if we want to go to Montgomery, we've got to have the applications." And they're going off, not seeing any of this. It's unthought of. And nobody came back and said anything to us, see. And that was unusual.


HUNTLEY: You mean nobody like, all of-

SHUTTLESWORTH: Nobody from the commander of the troopers.

HUNTLEY: Nobody said anything?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Nobody said anything to us. I said, "And here is the trouble. We're going to have to face traffic. And how are you going to do that?" And with a trooper moving themselves off, where were we? And that decision right now, could be debated on and on. But all of us know you can't walk through traffic, facing traffic.

HUNTLEY: So, the decision then, he made the decision then, to turn around.

SHUTTLESWORTH: We made it together.

HUNTLEY: And as you made that decision to turn and go back, people started to follow you. And then, there was some commotion through the right.


HUNTLEY: Younger people, who were saying that-

SHUTTLESWORTH: Especially those younger people. And you can empathize with them. 00:10:00They had been blown up, beaten up on this very bridge.

HUNTLEY: Oh okay.

SHUTTLESWORTH: And so, when we left, we were saying, "We're going to Montgomery." Not just going back across the bridge. It was a big let down, but it was the best we could do in our same situation. But I said to him, "We're in danger of the governor charging us with blocking traffic. They're not going to, unless they,"... Why did they move the traffic off? They could've moved traffic to the other side of the road.

HUNTLEY: [inaudible 00:10:33].

SHUTTLESWORTH: I said, "And that's just what we faced when we stepped down to them." I told them, "Fred, you're right." I said, "The governor is going to sucker you into,"... But he said he could not defend our walking, facing the traffic.

HUNTLEY: But you had faced situations similar to that, and defied the government.



HUNTLEY: You, in Birmingham, faced it, with the injunctions and any number of things.

SHUTTLESWORTH: I think if we had been on the other side of the road, I would have been-

HUNTLEY: [inaudible 00:11:15].

SHUTTLESWORTH: But you have to look at where you are, and what you are. And how you... See, you have to justify, even with your own self, what you do. You live with yourself. You are a person. You are... Everybody, to some extent, is a little universe in themself. And we all have common interests, but if you're up front, you have the problem. And so, a lot of people feel that Martin and me, we... for whatever. I don't think anything else we could've done.


SHUTTLESWORTH: I would've been glad. But I asked him. When we were going up, I asked him why did we come on that street. You know, when you get up on the 00:12:00bridge, you think you go two.


SHUTTLESWORTH: Yeah. And we were on this side, facing the traffic, oncoming.

HUNTLEY: On the left side.

SHUTTLESWORTH: And traffic was backed up behind them, if you look at the pictures. And they were eight deep, so we thought that they were going to stop us. So, we paused before we got to them, to decide what we were going to do.

HUNTLEY: And then, eventually, the march did take place.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Oh, it did take place. Yeah.

HUNTLEY: And that was another triumph.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Oh yeah. Triumph. And because I think I ran two days. The day that Viola Liuzzo was killed, we about halfway then. I mean, and I had met her. Beautiful lady. She was picking up people, and I met her and spoke to her. Of course, she was there to meet me, because she was really [inaudible 00:12:55], there in Selma. And I had been on the road, and the day she was killed, I had 00:13:00been there a day or two before that. None of us could be all the way every day.

HUNTLEY: Right, right. What was it like once the march actually made it to Montgomery?

SHUTTLESWORTH: I think it was a moment of triumph. I couldn't go much through the country, because I had to be other places, doing my own thing. But I made sure to be there the day when we got to this Catholic institute. I think they got there that night. So, I came in that night, and we had the musicians, and we had some sort of show there. Benefit. And the next day, we went and go on into Montgomery. And we marched into Montgomery, and people [inaudible 00:14:01] all 00:14:00the way out. I think it was a triumphant evening. And we marched in and marched up. And I still had the challenge that... the idea of challenge was in, there was a line of troopers that we couldn't go up to the capital.


SHUTTLESWORTH: So, my statement was, that I said we ought to go all the way up to the capital, and the next time we will. Something like that. But Martin was... I think that statement about, "Give us the ballot," or something. Tremendous speech. "Give us the ballot."

HUNTLEY: I also... we need to talk about the march on Washington.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Well, there were two. We had Prayer Pilgrimage, you remember.


HUNTLEY: Right, yeah.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Which was... we started in my room at the motel. That was the Prayer Pilgrimage. What year was that? And then, the march.

HUNTLEY: The big march in '63.

SHUTTLESWORTH: In '63. But we went to Pilgrimage in, what was it? '57, wasn't it?

HUNTLEY: Yeah, it was '57.

SHUTTLESWORTH: I mean, yeah.

HUNTLEY: '57 or '58.

SHUTTLESWORTH: I think it was. Yeah, and the Prayer Pilgrimage was the first thing.


SHUTTLESWORTH: And people used to think that Martin was... And I did, too, for a second... Was given to... went in the city, sometime at the time when you need forthright speeches. Martin was [inaudible 00:15:36], where do we go from here? Or something. A. Philip Randolph and-

HUNTLEY: Rustin?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Rustin. [inaudible 00:15:52], so we weren't talking. And actually, this is [inaudible 00:15:56]. And I said, "No, I think we can be in 00:16:00it. And if I'm going to be in it, we have to go ahead and do it then." So, we did that in May of '57. The other one came after Victory in '63.

HUNTLEY: Yeah, that's right. [inaudible 00:16:16] was in '63.

SHUTTLESWORTH: We had walked in Birmingham prior to any of that.

HUNTLEY: Sure. That's right. Really, that seemed to have been part of a victory celebration.

SHUTTLESWORTH: It was, it kind of [inaudible 00:16:33]. And I think that speech, somebody asked me about it, was God trying to speak to people? I really think King was at his best. I don't think there will ever be another one, however large, that would have more meaning, or more symbolism, or more essence that 00:17:00people need to get, than that day in 1963.

HUNTLEY: That was the last march. That was the one on 16th Street at the church.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Yes. The plan was determined that we had a victory, but it wouldn't be a victory. And that we had a victory, but our joy would be short lived, in the sense of exulting and shouting.


SHUTTLESWORTH: And the reaction always is possible in human lives. It's the telling of it, he doesn't want good people, the goodness to fly. In fact... Excuse me.

HUNTLEY: Bless you.

SHUTTLESWORTH: By sinus bothers me. The whole epic of human progress is built on 00:18:00action and reaction. And the enemies were already in [inaudible 00:18:21]. And you see, one of the problems with people who mean well, that we all look out, and watch, and anticipate, I would suspect that in hindsight... And maybe we wouldn't do it today, but in hindsight, we should've been with that government, and then faith should've been the path for them. In the wake of victory. That the Klan would just be the Klan.

HUNTLEY: Do would they would-

SHUTTLESWORTH: Do what they would do. And especially in places like the motel, and 16th Street, just where we had been meeting, and even Bethel, that day, 00:19:00wouldn't have been guarded, and it wouldn't have taken a whole lot of people to do it.

HUNTLEY: That's true.

SHUTTLESWORTH: One other thing we haven't talked about, and I don't necessarily think that any interview had to be so much about me, but the second bombing in Bethel's Church is a part of history that there's much known about. And that's the timer. I don't want to get into this, until you get ready.

HUNTLEY: That's fine. Let's do that. Let's do that.

SHUTTLESWORTH: And it comes out of what I'm saying here now. That second bombing in '58, the Klan was intending to... they basically, again, they just set them at Phillips High School. So, in '58, they would determine, if they couldn't kill 00:20:00me trying these, [inaudible 00:20:04], so I wouldn't have these robberies. And that's [inaudible 00:20:09]. How should I say this? J. Edgar Hoover and the federal government [inaudible 00:20:22] supposing to have to be blamed for much of what has happened in the deep south. Especially here in Birmingham. Including the 16th Street one. They [inaudible 00:20:33] who blamed into it. And it ought to be, even now, an investigation into it. But it so happened that J.B. Stoner was finally arrested 22 years after this second bombing. Stoner called me and asked me would I come down and be his witness. I said, "Well, what did I witness?" Nothing but the fact that he asked me, I said, "No, I'll come down 00:21:00myself. I don't need to come down with you, taking me down." That's the only conversation I had with him.

But we with a foolish judge... And this is, it is 22 years later, justice now. And we learned then, that Stoner justified the same thing. This is why much of what's in Birmingham and happened in the deep south, when they were doing it, should be immediately investigated. Even right now. And in this court room that day, Mr. Stoner testified that Bull Connor and the L.B.I. team sat in the First 00:22:00Baptist Church, up in one of the offices, overlooking the lot on which Bull Connor's men and J.B. Stoner made a deal. And this came after... Yeah, this is why I think the Lord wants this entered in history. You remember that there were 55 sticks of dynamite found in this big Jewish thing up there, in what do you call that area?

HUNTLEY: In the-

SHUTTLESWORTH: Coming down that hill.


SHUTTLESWORTH: I forget... they call it a name. I can't think of it right now. All the white folks live in there. And I said God was merciful, because that... 55-

HUNTLEY: It's up on Highland.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Highland, yes. If that 55 sticks of dynamite had gone off, and that explosive effect had rolled down that, it would've slain people. And most 00:23:00are white. God was merciful. After that blast, that's what forced, I understand, this meeting. That the Klan said, "You've got to get with us. You've got to get with us, because this is coming home." You see? To white folks. Too close. So, this is when Bull was sitting there, and they were negotiating with Craig. With Stoner. And his testimony was that they would pay him to bomb my church. Destroy it. To fire bombs set against the wall. And if I didn't get out of town after that, they would pay him $10,000 to get up somewhere and just kill me. And when he said that, that day, it was so shocking. All of the cameras turned on me, and 00:24:00I'm sitting on the front row. So, I just smiled, because I had come through that 22 years.

And of course, Mr. [inaudible 00:24:20] got 10 years, I believe it was. Whatever it was. But this showed that officials were involved. That the FBI had knowledge of it, and my life was expendable, even to them. Look at how many failures that they made. Look at how many attempts to [inaudible 00:24:42] me down, or kill me to get me out of there. I've been to jail, even, yet all of it, I rose on top of it. And I'm sitting here today, nearly 75 years old, never expected to live 40 years older than this thing. Surely, God is able. And surely, God could bring me here. People need to think about that.


HUNTLEY: There have been a number of reports, even books, on 1968, with the assassination of Doctor King, and the assassination of Robert Kennedy.


HUNTLEY: And there have been some conspiracy theories, of course. What's your reaction to those?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Just like there was some knowledge of, or implications of participating in the thing, which I just told you about. This Klan thing. After that 55 sticks of dynamite. There was more, perhaps, in why the participation in, the government and police officials. You see, the south never forgave 00:26:00Kennedy for wanting civil rights action. And you can never know exactly what the CIA did or did not do. I do not know. I do know that they did a raid, because I done go to London and got passes, and this, and that, and the other, without somebody knowing about it. How could they get the passes? How could they get the flights? So, I would not... While I don't try to play God. Never have. But I know that all their men came flying to go to London and get passes, and passports and this and that. There has to be.

And then, I was... There was a police official talking one day about what 00:27:00happened in Memphis. That they knew that Doctor King was coming, and they knew that situation was heightened. And they had this on the air. I was listening in, that this police official questioned why they had to move him off his post of duty at a certain time, before Martin Luther King was killed. I don't even remember the man's name at this time. There have been, and there are still reasons, I think, to question, if you look into what has happened. So, to answer your question, do I think there have been at least some involvement in Kennedy and King's death? Absolutely. Yes. Because these people would have carried this country forward in human rights, before the conservative right, or whatever that 00:28:00name is called. Would have sent in and slowed down. And had Robert Kennedy been elected president, we would have been further ahead than what we are. And if you ask my honest impression, I think God knew that he was there. And he knew it was true, sometimes limit things, as well as some die, too. [inaudible 00:28:34].

And no man, however popular, or however strong, will never be God. We move into his [inaudible 00:28:46] history and do things, and we go. You see, the Tower of Babel, way back there, was done, as a matter of fact, that nobody's going to build up, the way you can get to heaven was on your own. And God frustrates the 00:29:00essence of men at times, so that there's always... And I guess I'm philosophying. But everybody has a philosophy. Mine comes from thinking, at least. There will always be a need to struggle. There will always... goodness is a goal, a concept that people have to strive at. It just ain't going to come, because it's hard when you're bad. There are a whole lot of war and sin. And then, shake a neighbor's hand and [inaudible 00:29:43].

But that the God of this universe, his purpose is, in all generations, and in many situations, not necessarily all of them, he proposed that in doing certain thing, that you know it had to be God. It had to be God to keep me out in the 00:30:00government. See? It had to be God that do certain things. And so, no man can be God. But he wants people to, it seems to me, to live conscious of that, that you can relate your life to him, and have a better movement, tone that goes with goodness and perfecting. Which is always elusive. Just like holiness. We'll be offered holy when we see God's face, but we are holy now, to the extent that we are trying to be holy. So, he helps us. And I don't know whether that's out of order, but it's what I feel.

He, as much as we needed Robert Kennedy... And I look at, I'll go on and this sends me right on the train. And I was moved at the people who stood by the 00:31:00railroad track. One man got killed, as you recall, by that train. Got too close or something. They moved on, though. And I was there when his brother, Ted, did his eulogy and all. But I was requested because I had worked with him. But I saw the pathos, the sadness, the sorrow at a lack of fulfillment in people. There's always going to be some of that, because God wants us to look up, but only he can do the real fulfilling. We can just do a little of it and move on.

And I think if Robert had been able to be president, we would've been a little bit closer to saying no than some of our laws would not be [inaudible 00:32:02] 00:32:00again, and the attempt of the right wing to roll back, wouldn't be as quite as... as it is now. But on the other hand, I look at it as we have nothing [inaudible 00:32:16] what he wants to do. And he's going to leave himself a lot to do with our lives, as we know. And that's in, even in the school system. The institutions like this, where you're trying to tell people to look into stuff, look at what has happened, and think about how much you can do better. That's his way. But all the people need to be helped.

And finally, we can not will to do good without that coming fresh from above. Remember that. So, I'm gladified that I have been used in the flesh, which I 00:33:00guess, it's a gumption by the spirit, to give myself as best I could, for the good. I would never profess to be a perfect man. But I have tried to do good. It's in the bible, "Trust that you'll always do good, and so shall I trust in the name." And we have to teach... If we can be able to teach people these basic elementary facts, and let them know that they are, after all, to relate themselves to a higher being, and to each other. We begin a for real perspective.

HUNTLEY: What did the death of Doctor Martin Luther King mean to the [inaudible 00:33:49]?

SHUTTLESWORTH: I have a feeling that he had done what God had for him to do at that time, and moved him on up higher. I felt mine was to be cut off back then, 00:34:00but I understand now that it is, to some degree, not to the degree I'd like to, try to give interpretation and encouragement, and living now in Selma. I'm all but one of the Big Three that's still living now. Well, I think Doctor King's time had come. And when... as I told you, I was sitting in my church choir's... I was sitting in my office and the choir was rehearsing, when the word had came. And my feeling, initially, was that he had done his best. He'd done his job, and that he had been used by God, and leased to speak to the nation. Now, you hear 00:35:00and don't heed, then the response to it is [inaudible 00:35:05] God, and there, what I witnessed. And if God's judgment comes, even neighbors that had to be true and righteous, or yeah, you suffer because you could have or should have, and did nothing. It's the same with the nations. See, I exist in the nation like a drop in the bucket. So, like he did with [inaudible 00:35:28], he did with the nations.

HUNTLEY: The SCLC, after his death, had some difficulties. How did those play out, from your vantage point, as being a key person to his message?

SHUTTLESWORTH: To extend it out and lead it, and participate in getting it out 00:36:00is key. I never figured that, that was key, because I always would be a friend to Martin, to be a leader in Martin, and you know that C.K. Steele should've been the next president. And I think that might've been a mistake, because all he wanted to have, he wanted to have followers. Martin and Ralph were so close, and I think Ralph wanted to secede Martin. And Martin and Ralph were so close in everything. And Ralph and Martin prevailed on them both, because I felt like, that C.K. Steele rightly should've been the first. And we might have gotten a slight different... History is always before us. You look back and see what 00:37:00might have happened. You know, no. But Martin pleaded with the board to make Ralph the next president in line. And I always thought that was not the best. And C.K. Steele took it, and I always admired him for that, because he was ruled with pressure. Well, when Ralph got it, when Martin died, and this is not to take anything from anybody else. No man is God.

But Ralph was the most insecure president that you could find. Although, he wanted it, there was always an insecurity about Ralph, and I don't want to stay except to say that Ralph would slip and cry at times when he ought to been 00:38:00making decisions, I mean about simple things, that's far enough to get into that. Ralph's idea that as president of SCLC, just to being president of SCLC, would command loyalties and command progress, it wouldn't. And I'll give you this example so that you can see I am not misstating it cause I wouldn't do that. One day when Ralph was president and activities had died down and wasn't much being said, Ralph couldn't a headline hardly anywhere, Ralph called an emergency for me to come to New York City. Always I have tried to, if Martin or Ralph called, I would go. So I put down everything I had and caught the next 00:39:00plane they had arranged. I went, and it take an hour to get from the airport. The white man that was so close to Martin, I can't think of his name now.

HUNTLEY: Levison, was that the one?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Levison, yeah, Harry Wachtel, and Levison?

HUNTLEY: Levison.

SHUTTLESWORTH: Levison, I think it was Stanley. There were two Negroes, I can't think of their names right now. When I walked into the room, Ralph was glad I came, and Ralph had one of these, that small paper that's so thick, the Daily 00:40:00World, is it, Daily News? And he was sitting in a chair, and he had his hand, I guess they told him I was coming by, and I could tell when I went in the building the people there, particularly the white person and one of the other Negroes were distressed. Something was in the room so thick you could cut it. I said, Well, Ralph, here I am, what is it you want, you know I've always come when you called, try to put myself, so he didn't say anything at first, and I looked around, and I think this young white fellow, this white man, he wasn't young, he was distressed that he hadn't said, so I said, well, I'm here so what is it that you need? I thought he was gone pick up some drive or something. And he was almost on the verge of tears, so he flipped open the page, it's either on page 97 or 107, something like that, and he flipped open the page, no, he said, we've got to find a way to bury Martin Luther King. This is history, so, you 00:41:00know. I said, How do mean that, Ralph? I say, we've got to find a way to bury Martin Luther King. I said, Ralph, I'm sorry to hear you say that, I don't think you should ever say that. Were it not for Martin Luther King you wouldn't be where you are today. And look like you could see those people lifting up since I am saying these things to him. And I said, so he flipped open the paper, he said, Look where the president of SCLC is. Little thing about that, wasn't five lines thick in a column, way back on page 97 or 107, something like that, way back in there. Said, Look where the president of SCLC is. Well, I've always been straight and nice as I could. I said, Well, Ralph, I said, I'm sorry to hear you 00:42:00say that about Martin and don't ever say that. I said, you're on page 97 because you're not doing page 1 action. See, this is what I've said to you. I said, Remember when we were in the encampment there and you talking about we gone stay on the Mall that camp all day, I said, you knew we couldn't do that, you should have said that and been making plans to let folks march out instead of being driven out by tear gas. I said, that's what Martin would have done. And some church had offered us, as I understand. I had been, I went up one night cause I never did want to go to the tent city too much, and I had decided I was going to, if necessary, go check with Ralph and stay out there in the city if it would help to do morale, because they didn't have discipline, as you know, like they 00:43:00should have. And I hate to say this, but Ralph was in a motel room and Ralph had at least ten to twelve phones on this thing, I don't know why so many phones, a lot of them. And so when I walked in to talk to Ralph, let him know I had come up and if he had any ideas about this and that, Ralph was so busy that I guess he spoke less than thirty words to me.

HUNTLEY: After calling you from--

SHUTTLESWORTH: No, no, no, this is another thing now, this is during the tent campaign. That's all that happened in this thing.

HUNTLEY: Oh, okay.

SHUTTLESWORTH: I just told him I said don't you ever, you do anything you can to lift up Martin's name.

HUNTLEY: Yeah, there in New, why was he in New York at that time?

SHUTTLESWORTH: This was during the tent city.


HUNTLEY: No, no, I mean--

SHUTTLESWORTH: Resurrection City.

HUNTLEY: During the time that when he called you.

SHUTTLESWORTH: This was after that.

HUNTLEY: Okay, well, why was he in New York?

SHUTTLESWORTH: I really don't know except that he was there, he might have been there for some--

HUNTLEY: But he wanted you to come up for that--

SHUTTLESWORTH: For that, just that little thing. And I don't know whether he had plans for something to be presented to the board so we could do this and that, but Ralph felt insecure, he never felt the--

HUNTLEY: Well, you know, the book that he wrote and the controversy that was evoked as a result of that, how did you read that?

SHUTTLESWORTH: Well, they naturally were gone call me, and I was upset, I was shocked by it, because I thought that he could written a better book as the nonviolent leader explaining nonviolence to people, talking about that, rather 00:45:00than salacious situations, which everybody had done on TV and other things. And I thought it was sickening and I thought it was somebody who had some book publisher, some person who had gotten in with them who wanted to bring King's mud out, and nobody to better validate, who better than Ralph? And I thought there was money involved, and I understand there was. And I understand that, I think Ralph thought the book would make a killing but the book flubbed, as God would have it. And of course, you know, I was in, Jesse Hill from Atlanta Life, Bishop and several of us who went up to Washington and made a statement that we had hoped and prayed that such wouldn't be, but that Bernard had said he was 00:46:00there that night, you know. And of course my statement was that I was sorry that such a thing had to be, and you must understand that Ralph didn't live long after that. And if I have had anything that distressed me deeply it was Ralph on national news trying to justify the book, and what he said was, and I listened at this, Martin wasn't no saint. Well, nobody's a saint. And what is a saint but a sinner saved by grace and trying to live right? And I thought, and they just really did him so bad, and I really think that was part of his stroke, I think it was such an utter __?__ and yet it might be poetic justice. Nobody had done 00:47:00more for Ralph. Ralph's name would not have been in history except for Martin. And Ralph got into a situation in Montgomery, the first time Martin went to jail was because of Ralph's problems with __?__ in Montgomery, as I understand it. So I thought the book was a terrible thing. I would have wished that he would have said something to young folks and explained some of these things, some things I have tried to say in this interview, explained about how God kept us through, He brought us even on the Mississippi road. Did you know, and I don't want to go back into it, but on the Mississippi march, you know them white men were marching, were driving around there with guns in their thing. And on one 00:48:00situation, I'll just say this, and Ralph could have made this real to folks, Ralph and Martin was there, and I always took the front position when, like when we were there, like we were in Montgomery, when we integrated, the man come up and struck Martin, I was right there to keep him from striking him again. But on this road, Mississippi road, one guy, they were building a highway, and he had gotten off the highway, this was a road that we were on, and he just in a truck bore down on us, it looked like we were a goner. So I didn't jump out of the way of it. And I saw Martin look up with that look of resignation in his, and said, well, if he gone kill us ain't nothing we can do, so he didn't try to jump out the way and neither did I and the truck came I guess as close to my leg, cause I was the point man, as this, and slid on brakes. Then he put it in reverse and 00:49:00backed away and went on, intimidation. We didn't know. So we were in God's hands, and you're still in God's hands. And I think there were so many things a book could point out to people, and make people realize that we got Somebody to help us live this life, bad as it is or whatever.

HUNTLEY: Reverend, you have spent two days with me, telling me everything--

SHUTTLESWORTH: (Laughing) I'm tiring you out from looking.

HUNTLEY: No, but you have, obviously, as you come into town, what I'm going to do now is go back and listen to these.


HUNTLEY: And I'm sure there are going to be questions that I'll have, so as you come in town periodically, what I'd like to do is sit down and maybe take an hour with you and sort of concretize what we've done here.


SHUTTLESWORTH: That'll be fine. Concretize, and probably questions will be raised, even out of this about other things, you know, for instance, I could tell you about incidents like St. Augustine, Florida, how we integrated the thing, or how Sheriff Hoss Manucy at St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine the oldest state in the union, you know. Oldest city.

HUNTLEY: Oldest city, yeah.

SHUTTLESWORTH: And the flea market is there, all of this. Danville, Virginia, I've been a lot of places and I'll be glad to talk with you at any time and I appreciate your desire and I hope it benefits the program of the Institute. I'd like for people both white and Black to know what the struggle has been thus far and I believe people are inspired, you know it's an amazing thing but you'd be surprised how when people sit down and listen to you it helps them sometimes when they don't have courage, it gives them a little bit.


HUNTLEY: That's right.

SHUTTLESWORTH: And I've had white people come to my office and with tears in their eyes, say, I'm going to be a better man. I've got wall, plaques around my walls I don't even have room, keys of all kinds, but that to me is small stuff, I'm looking for my name to be on the roll in heaven. That's what we all better look for.

HUNTLEY: (Laughing) That's right. Again, thank you very much.