Interview with Stokley Carmichael



I think the decision to continue to pitch the tent on school grounds were made in line, number one, with the area that we kept feeling that as a people we really have to have more control over our destiny. And while throughout the struggle in the South, we had those preachers who understood the truth the life, they opened their church doors to the struggle and you have in your record how many of our churches were bombed and burnt as a result of this. But mainly in the churches, so we wanted to spread out of the churches. We wanted to—other aspect of our life, our schools, etc., etc. Canton, Mississippi, of course, was worked by the Congress of Racial Equality and it was a terrorist county. I mean the, the history of terror in that county against CORE workers will make anyone incensed with injustice. So the CORE people had stepped up their people and they had made this decision. McKissick who was head of CORE could not back down. We, of SNCC wanted the decision and the real weight was King, with King recognized, number one, that we did need to push in areas outside of this and King of course was never afraid of confrontation. People get confused because he was nonviolent they try to make him look like a lamb who took anything, but King was never afraid of confrontation. He would confront the enemy any time using nonviolence as a weapon. So, the question of confrontation was no question. And King himself felt that yes, we must move outside of just our churches to get broader support for our struggle.