Interview with Stokley Carmichael

Cut OK, start again, with Ricks.


Brother Willie Ricks was sent as head, as the advance scout, and sometimes he could have as many as 20 to 40, as we grew bigger, even 20 or 40 people under his direction to spread out. And his task was to take them, spread them out to plantations, speak to the sharecroppers. Tell them the march was coming through but to throw out Black Power and to give little Black Power speeches to get the reaction. I think about three nights before Greenwood, 'cause SNCC was decided where's the best place for us to launch it. About three nights before Greenwood, I remember about two o'clock in the morning, Ricks came back and he was giving a report and Cleve Sellers was sitting next to me, I remember, and Ricks was saying, "We ought to drop it now. The people are ready for it. He said it the other day and they dropped their hose, you know." And I said to Cleve, I said, "You know, you sent the wrong man out because we need a clear analysis here and this man is given to exaggerations and talking all sorts of nonsense in hyperbolic terms and we need a clear analysis." Ricks, said, "I'm telling you the truth." You know. So I said, "I've heard your truth before. You know, we need somebody who can really do this." Well, unfortunately we had no one else who we could send out because the next night, if I remember correctly, I think it was just before Greenwood. Was it Canton? Where we got beaten so badly and—