Interview with Stokley Carmichael



When you look at a county like Lowndes County which had the history of terrorism that it did—85 percent of the population—us, owning no land, all sharecroppers. And what was even more important statistically was that Lowndes County, which was between Selma and Montgomery, and Montgomery seen[sic] activity since 1957 with Martin Luther King's bus boycott and Selma, since the early '60s when SNCC were in Selma, there wasn't one of us registered to vote in Lowndes County. That's how strongly terrorism was there. So, this was the first time, that as a SNCC organizer, Bob Mants and myself, we were able to go into a county, with a full list of names thanks to the march that was conducted by Martin Luther King, of the strongest people, those who were unafraid, willing to participate. So, for us the organizing task had been done because as an organizer this work can take you sometimes as much as six months when you go into a county, to find and to isolate the people, but this was given to us and it was demographically broken down because the march had gone through the entire breadth of the county. So when we sat down to work, as a matter of fact, it was deciding which group we wanted to spend most of our time with out of all the strongs that we had collected, strong people we had collected, in order to spread out rapidly within the county.