Interview with James Bevel

OK. Now you're telling me a lot of the philosophy, but what—what happened when you brought these kids together. Did you have—I know there's a story in here somewhere. What happened when you finally said, OK, I need some good volunteers here.


Well, first thing we did, we got to—there's a film, "The Nashville City and Story." I don't know whether you've seen it or not. It was NBC White Paper. We would show that film in all of the schools, and one of the things that I was—I guess the difference that—that we approached was that you are responsible for segregation, you and your parents because you have not stood up. In other words, our position was that according to the Bible and the Constitution, no one has the power to oppress you if you don't cooperate. So then if you say you are oppressed, then you are also acknowledging that you are in league with the oppressor. Now it's your responsibility to break league with the oppressor. If you don't second his motion on what's wrong, his motion on what's wrong will die, and you make a motion in terms of what's right, and second your motion, and that motion will become alive. So it was like, as long as you go along with segregation, you second Bull Connor's motion. So don't second his motion. Put your own motion on the floor. The fact that schools and business shouldn't go on as usual as long as you're involved in being oppressed.