YOU TOLD US, UM, HOW YOU FIRST HEARD ABOUT THE BOYCOTT HOW E. D. NIXON FED YOU THE STORY, YES, I WONDER IF YOU WOULD TELL US ABOUT THAT TELEPHONE CALL?
I was at work, uh, uh, doing what you do as a city editor, and I received this phone call, and people are always asking me, "How in the world did you know about the boycott; how did you get on to it, and uh, how did you get the first piece of information?" Two years before the boycott began, I was given an award by Selma University, I was at the time a 25 year old guy, and they awarded me an honorary uh, doctorate of literature, an LITT.D, and I was this young, 25 year old guy, receiving a, a award from an all black college for doing so very much for black communities in Alabama, and for being objective, uh, for helping the polio epidemic blacks. I went in and got black children with polio and carried them in my arms uh to St. Jude hospital, and I had done a lot of things like that, uh, but I had known E. D. Nixon, and he had helped me uh, to have a Christmas party for poor black children, this was on my own and with him and so forth, and I went and got the things, and E.D. called me, he was a Pullman car porter, and was a, I knew him very well, and I knew that he was a very close friend of A. Phillip Randolph, who was President of the Car Porters Union. And um, he said, "I've got a big story for you and I want you to meet me." Now E.D. doesn't talk long sentences, he's very short, and brusque, and uh what have you in what he has to say. He said "Can you meet me?" I said [laughter], "Yeah, I can meet you." So we met down at the Union Station, and he showed me one of these leaflets these ah, uh, and what have you that was mimeographed. And uh, he said, "I want to tell you what we're gonna do, we're gonna boycott these buses, we're tired of them fooling with our, our women. And they done it for the last time." So I said, "Ok." He said, "You gonna put this on the front page?" And I said, "Yeah, I'm gonna try to." And I went back to the paper and I called the publisher of the paper, Mr. R.F. Hudson, Jr., and I said, "I've got this story about this bus, um, the, you know, they're gonna uh, boycott the buses, what should I do with it?" He said, "What do you think you should do with it?" I said, "It's news, and I think it should be published." He said, "Well if you think it's news and it should be published, then publish it on the front page if you think that's where it belongs." And I said, "Well, I think that's where it belongs." So I wrote the story, I put my name on it, and I said they were gonna boycott the uh, buses and it went out.