Interview with Marion Barry


Marion Barry:

Well I mean—I think that it's obvious that they were probably trying to expand their base in the early sixties. Because, as you know, John Kennedy won the Presidency by a very narrow margin in ‘60 and I think they were trying to expand it in the South because I think black people were probably more than likely to be more natural allies of that group of philosophical political thought than some white people in some other parts of the country. Plus looking in retrospect, voter registration was a motherhood kind of issue. Who could who could legitimately say that black folks shouldn't be allowed to register to vote? You know, you couldn't defend that even though you didn't agree with that. So I think it was one of those motherhood issues that also satisfied some other political agendas. At the time it happened I know I wasn't aware of that ramification of it—I was just busy about trying to get the movement going and trying to do that which I thought was right to do, you know, for black people, and I didn't know about these other agendas. I mean I learned about these things as you travel around the country, as you go to meetings, as you get more sophisticated about what would happen back in those—I think most of us were very naive about the political ramifications of all this. We were just busy trying to work hard to change, change the damn system.