Interview with Reverend Will Campbell
QUESTION 8
INTERVIEWER:

THAT EPISODE ON THE STEPS, ON THE STEPS OF THE STATEHOUSE AND NOT BEING AN END OR BEGINNING, TALK TO ME ABOUT THAT.

Rev. Will D. Campbell:

Yes, when, when Diane Nash, later Diane Bevel, had the confrontation with Mayor West, and for the first time, the Mayor of this city went on record as saying that merchants cannot morally justify taking people's money, but giving them unequal service in terms of hiring, of restroom facilities, of eating facilities, drinking fountains and so on. This was the first crack in the frozen pond of racial segregation in this city. It did not mean the melting of the ice when everything was over, but it was a starting point, and so here the Mayor has said this. Now, before anything really was was accomplished, there had to be the Easter boycott of the stores, the virtual drying up of the downtown area and I think for the first time the merchants and the city officials realized that we were talking more than just the right to a hamburger and a cup of coffee at the five-and-ten-cent store. That we are talking about employment, we're talking about fairness in general, and treating people as human beings, and really what we're talking about, and this was the most frightening of all, that we were talking about a redistribution of America's wealth. Just as when the, the quote, make a big jump here from Nashville to the national church scene, when James Forman walked into Riverside Church in New York and read the manifesto, talking about reparation for misdeeds of white churches, and demanding of white churches that they give fifty million dollars or whatever, of their vast wealth, for the first time the national scene saw that what we're talking about is more than a cup of coffee and a hamburger. I think you, I gave you more than you asked for, but—[overlap]

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

200 FEET LEFT [overlap] 200 FEET LEFT ON CAMERA ROLL 319