Interview with Marion Barry
QUESTION 7
INTERVIEWER:

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE FIRST, TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE FIRST RALEIGH CONVENTION AND HOW SNCC WAS ORGANIZED? AND THEN JUST TELL ME THAT YOU WERE ELECTED.

Marion Barry:

Well,I can't remember all of it. We got there, a lot of us were excited about going because we knew there were other students around the country we had heard about. We had seen them on television or we had talked to them on the telephone in trying to hook up coordination about certain weekend movements and things. We didn't know who they were. They didn't know who we were. So just the—plus to get out of Nashville, and we had been battling in Nashville since the early part of February, and every weekend we were demonstrating and some weekends at night, and some nights during the week we were—we had a number of night marches downtown. And so I guess we were in battle and one was to get out of Nashville, just to take a break for that weekend. It was Easter weekend. And also to meet all these students we had heard about and had seen. And so we got there, it was like we hadn't known each other, but we all came together and we introduced ourselves, everyone around, you know, the campus, at Shaw University. And plus, you know, Dr. King was there and a lot of has, had a lot of respect for him and some of us had been able to see him at various rallies or had participated in some affairs with him so that to be there—a number of other people we hadn't seen, just heard about—you know, people in Birmingham and in Montgomery and North Carolina and South Carolina and Orangeburg [South Carolina] who had gone through hell probably much more than we had gone through in terms of the-you know the white folks and the jails. It was just good to come together. That was one thing. The other thing was that Dr. King was trying to convince students they ought to become part of SCLC, and it was fed by a lot of people out of the SCLC organizers were there. I think I remember Wyatt Tee Walker, and a lot other people around that I can't remember now, were there and students decided that they didn't want to necessarily make that move that way. So a lot of caucusing going on among various delegations, the Nashville group was caucusing with the Alabama group and the Alabama group was caucusing with the Georgia group. And so I think over a period of time, certain groups like for instance the Nashville group became very close to the Atlanta group—I guess there were a lot of similarities in Atlanta as there were in—

FILM PRODUCTION TEAM:

[SOUND ROLL ELEVEN, CAMERA ROLL EIGHTEEN]

Marion Barry:

Blacks would get on the bus and blacks would fill up to about three-fourths of the bus. As it went through town, there would be less and less black people, more and more white people would get on it so by the time you get to the other end of the line it was predominantly white. So when the bus would come through our neighborhood, in the summertime particularly, and people had their arms out the windows, we used to throw water on them, you know, the buses, hit white folks with sticks and things—a lot of kind of stuff like that—I didn't know then what I was doing. I thought I was just, I'm now looking in retrospect, it was, it was a reaction to—we used to throw Coke bottles on top of the movie theater all the time, throw them down there, and it was dark. They didn't know who threw them and they went there and said sitting watching the movie, you know.

[break]