Interview with Marion Barry


Marion Barry:

It was rough. As I remember, I think SCLC quite frankly lent us or gave us some amount of money. I don't know if it was $2,000. Mrs. Ella Baker was very involved with that process. When we first went to Atlanta, in May of 1960 I think, we met oh, Morehouse campus or someplace at Atlanta University center, it was—at that time we were looking. We decided we ought to stay in Atlanta and we ought to look for an office in Atlanta. And Mrs. Baker I think persuaded SCLC people to let us use space above their office. I think it was at 208—these numbers and streets sort of slip me—but we were there for awhile and we finally had some other people. I think it was Jane Stimberson, some others who knew some other people who gave us a hundred dollars here, fifty dollars here, or twenty five dollars until we just were able to put together some little amount of money. Now what we did in terms of people getting to Atlanta each of the movements paid, like for instance the Nashville movement paid my way, you know, to Atlanta and the other movements paid the student's way to Atlanta, and paid our way back and also gave us I guess five to ten dollars to spend on food while we were there. So the movements themselves had to sustain our subsistence or our existence, and then I think we moved over to 197(?) Avenue. But money started coming in the fall particularly with NSA, the National Student Association got very busy to assist in raising money. We had activities on the college campuses in the north that sent money south to students and they began to form a kitty. I remember when we went to Los Angeles we had to, Bernard and I just had to hustle the money from various places to get to Los Angeles. We went on the train and got there, and once we got there some people there, some churches, helped us raise some money to get us to Washington. So we managed to fly over to Washington, but it was that kind of struggle of asking people to give some money in any way they could. And the local movements in the south, they raised money because most of had fundraising activities—had rallies where we took up money. We asked churches to send us money. They took up money on Sundays and the community contributed to bail bonds and things. In some instances the bond was returned, so therefore the money was available, but it was pretty rough.