Interview with Mary Frances Berry

Now, you're a lawyer. How did you feel about movement activists who chose to take up arms in the struggle? Did you feel that they were going to jeopardize hard-won gains of the movement? Did their posture, their language offend you?


Well, I'm a lawyer but I'm also a historian, and I'm also a Black person. And, it seems to me, that, in order to make change in society, you have to use a number of different strategies, and that every kind of strategy pay--plays a role. There may be strategies that I would not participate in, and I would play the role I play. But I can understand why some people approach matters differently, so I wouldn't reject people out of hand, I would just simply say, "They chose to engage in those activities as their part of what was going on in the struggle at that time."