Interview with Dr. William Anderson
QUESTION 9
JAMES A. DEVINNEY:

OK, I THINK WE'RE STILL WATTING TO FIND OUT WHAT LED TO THE DECISION TO BRING IN DR. KING.

Dr. William G. Anderson:

That's what did it. When we got to the point that we had this many people in jail…When we had this many people in jail, we had a meeting of the Albany Movement that night and we all recognized that we had no experience in what we were doing. We had never been involved in mass demonstrations, mass arrests. We had no provisions for bonding. No provisions for taking care of families of people who were in jail. And recognize that this was not a select group. These were common, ordinary, everyday people, housewives, cooks, maids, laborers, children out of school. We had made no provisions for these people going to jail because we did not anticipate the mass arrests. So we concluded that night that we are into something that really we need some expert help in,** someone who has had the experience. And I knew Dr. King from years earlier. My wife and Dr. King had been high school schoolmates, and my wife's brother and Dr. King were classmates and very close friends at David D. Howard High School here in Atlanta. And I indicated that I felt that I knew Dr. King well enough that if I were to call him he would come down and help us. Needless to say there was not total agreement initially with issuing this call. Because recognizing that now SNCC was on the scene and by virtue of the Freedom Riders coming through CORE was on the scene, and they did also have established organizations. They wanted to protect the integrity of those organizations. We also recognize that to the extent that they received some publicity it helped to further their cause and they would be able to raise money to continue their activities. But anyway, we were able to get unanimous decision of the Albany Movement to call in Dr. King. So that night I tracked down Dr. King. I don't remember where he was at the time. But I called him personally. And he merely asked of me if this is the desire of all involved. And I said, "Yes it is." And he asked that I send him a telegram to that extent. And I did. And the telegram, I indicated on the telegram all the organizations that were represented now in the Albany Movement. And he responded to that call.