Interview with Thomas Atkins
QUESTION 6
JACKIE SHEARER:

So why don't we pick up with the NAACP?

TOM ATKINS:

In addition to its, the fact that it was the largest and oldest civil rights organization, NAACP had the practical advantage of having resources that it could call in, whether from its national office or ah, resources that could be called in from other parts of the state or other parts of the country. And by this time, the NAACP was the organization in the north that had some experience dealing with school desegregation. So if you want to talk to the people who were the experts, such as they were, ah, i-in dealing with northern school desegregation it was the NAACP. Southern school desegregation, it was the Legal Defense Fund and the Justice Department. But in the north it was the NAACP. So we, we sort of backed into a leadership role. Ah, and other people were willing to permit that. Ah, once it happened it, like other things, became difficult to change.