Interview with Dr. William Anderson
QUESTION 32
JAMES A. DEVINNEY:

I'D LIKE YOU TO ADDRESS THIS MORE FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF WHY THEY WERE SO RESISTANT TO DESEGREGATION? NOT JUST AFRAID OF THE DEMONSTRATIONS, BUT THE VERY THOUGHT OF DESEGREGATION.

Dr. William G. Anderson:

This is the fear of the unknown. I remarked to Laurie Pritchett at one time when he asked of me, "Dr. Anderson, do you think this is the way to get white people to accept you?" And I said to him, "You will never know whether or not I would be acceptable to you if somehow we are not given the opportunity to get together." I believe that a lot of white people feared, mixing with blacks because they had never had the experience. And they had been taught all of their lives that blacks were somehow inferior, dirty, smelly, unintelligible and all of the bad things that could be spoken about any person. They had been told this. They were brought up in that environment—that blacks should be totally segregated, they should be denied access to public accommodations. And I think that blacks were more afraid of the unknown. Not of actually having experienced being in the presence of blacks as equals.