Interview with Laverne Barkley

But there was something very courageous about, about how he spoke out--


I know, I'm just speaking as a mother. I feared for him and for his life. And I wanted him home, that's all I wanted, him to come home safe and sound. And I felt, "Why would you do this, knowing that you will be home this week, one day this week you'd be home." The date had been set, I don't remember exactly, but he was coming home to us. So he jeopardized that in order to speak out for them, for the inmates, and he was, he had already written a book about the conditions there at that prison, and I, um, the things he wrote were things he felt strongly about, and I guess he couldn't do anything otherwise but what he did. So I think that, um, no matter how I felt about it, as his mom, I think that he had to do it. Because I, myself, I wouldn't, I don't believe I would have jeopardized my freedom, and possibly my life, risked not being, not coming home to your family. I don't know if I would have had the courage to do it. And I, um, I, I, I think that it's something people do. You wonder why people, people do things sometimes, how did you--how could they find the courage do certain things, but I guess ordinary people at a certain point, at a certain time, a place, a point in their life, they take a stand for something, and there's no other explanation other than that, something they really, really believe in. And I, myself, I feel as though I let him down because we had gone to see him Su- that Sunday, and Betty, my daughter Betty was with me and a friend of Elliot's was with me, and he had asked me specifically to bring his book out, to bring his book home. And I said to him, "Why, Elliot, you're coming home any, you'll be home in a few days, bring it when you come." So I feel, I feel I let him down. I wish with all, I wish I had brought it out. I wish I had.