Interview with Marion Barry


Marion Barry:

Well at Raleigh, as I said it was a coming together and there was a basic inclination on the part of students to sort of have their own organization—or have our own organization. Because when we understand all the other things, I didn't understand all the other things that were going on with SCLC and with CORE, NAACP, and all these other things that were happening and the Nashville students were probably more insistent on this than the most about keeping an organization of students coming together, coordinating their efforts. Also, there was an effort made to try to get students to do the same thing everywhere. And we were quick to point out that each situation was different, that what we could do in Nashville, maybe could not be done in Rock Hill, South Carolina, or because in Mississippi it was unheard of. When we went to Raleigh in 1960, I doubt we had hardly anybody there from Mississippi because Mississippi was just considered one of those states where students and no other people would out—really demonstrate, you know. There were a few from Tougaloo, but Tougaloo had always been a campus where people had done things. There were a few there I think from Rust College, but by and large Mississippi was not that well represented at the conference. Then there was the whole question too of nonviolent direct action, what that meant. And Jim Lawson was like the foremost proponent of the philosophical construct around nonviolent—I mean most of us were doing that out of a tactic, I never felt any real deep philosophical sense that we ought to do it this way except that was the best way at the time to do it, and so I could argue that and feel comfortable with it. I think that's where most students were too. They had bee—