Interview with Rev. Ralph Abernathy

What was your knowledge of the FBI activities in Birmingham? And if you had any, if the leaders were aware of this, how did you respond to whatever they were doing?

Rev. Ralph Abernathy:

Well, we, we were much aware of the FBI and we knew that they were taping our hotel rooms and bugging our houses and automobiles, and we were very much aware of the fact that they were monitoring our telephone calls. So we developed a code system. A code system, for instance, if we were talking about our wives, women were always institutions. Martin would say, Ralph, that is a great institution. And we would develop a, a words[sic] that meant certain things, and we were not doing anything wrong and we didn't have anything to hide. And so if they wanted to bug our rooms, and I remember very, very clearly that the Willard Hotel had Washington's cooperation with the FBI in Washington, DC. And so, we just decided that we were not going to try to hide or they could do whatever they wanted to do, but they would not be able to turn us around.