Interview with Georgia Ayers

Let's talk about that period in 1980, the time that Mr. McDuffie was killed. How did you feel when those, ah, those men were acquitted and where you ,you and what happened?


I was angry as hell, I was at home and we were expecting the acquittal to come back because the trial was over. My children are not that keen about me and what I do because I do speak out and what comes up most of the time will come out. We were waiting for the verdict. And my children, my baby daughter took my car and left the house with it so when the verdict came back, ah, I had, there were, I have a lot of friends in both the City of Miami Police Department and Metro Police Department. And someone called me and say, Georgia, ah, we are looking for you. You know, they're asking where are you. We're downtown at the Justice Building. And I said, dog gone it, my daughter took my car and left me and I know why she did that, to keep me from coming there. So I called my nephew and he came to pick me up and as soon as I got downtown in front of the Metro Building, the Police Station rather which is on 14th Street, I met Mama Range, that's Athney Range and she said, Georgia we need a bullhorn because we're losing control over the crowd. But at that moment, very seriously, I was frightened. Someone had thrown a rock and had broken the door leading into the police headquarters and I saw cars parked in strategic places with their trunks up. And I said, this is strange. All of these cars are breaking down in these areas. These people should have known better. At that moment I didn't think what was happening. Those people came downtown prepared with Molotov Cocktail bombs in the trunks of their cars. They came to destroy. It was a rumor that this was going to happen but I said, "Oh, probably this would not happen, not another 1968." Well this was more planned than '68 was and while I stood there evaluating what I thought I saw but then I realized almost that that's not what I think I see, this is happening. We are losing today. This Saturday is going to explode. And sure enough, I went inside the police station. I told the White officer that was sitting there, I think it's best that you get off the desk and let some Blacks come there. About that some moment a White City of Miami police officer came by in a car. He was terrified. I mean fear was all in his face. And instead of stopping, he put his foot on the gas tank and ran over a Black person and then pandemonium broke loose, ah, all was lost. There was no coming back. You just had to deal with it. And what know, we dealt with it for about four, five days. We lost 18 people, ah 19 with the death of McDuffie, during that, ah, civil disorder. Ah, it's, I never want to go through anything like that again.