Interview with William Coleman
QUESTION 18
INTERVIEWER:

IT MUST HAVE BEEN AN EXCITING MOMENT THOUGH. YOU PULLED ALL THAT TOGETHER… THE HISTORY OF THE MOMENT MUST HAVE…

William Coleman:

Oh yeah. There was great exhilaration, uh, there was a fair amount of drinking and otherwise celebrating. Uh, we felt that we had skillfully uh… uh… amassed legal and political and social arguments and we had been able to win. Uh, in addition you have to realize that our opponent was John W. Davis, who at that time was at the height of the bar. Of the, he was the outstanding Wall Street lawyer. And we were able to put together a legal team that could beat him. Uh, and I think that causes as a lawyer a certain amount of uh, good feeling. Uh, we also knew that we had resisted just about every attorney general of any Southern state. We knew that the other side had great legal talent. But we were able to fashion it so that we won. We also were greatly encouraged by the extent to which the entire black community had been supportive. We were also encouraged by the fact that the entire black community said that now that the Supreme Court has spoken, we are going to do our part to make sure this decision becomes effective. Because it was only after that that you had young girls at Little Rock being spit upon. You had blacks other places. And they were really, you know, it's nice for me being a Wall Street lawyer or… Philadelphia lawyer, sitting in a nice office and come down to this wonderful building to argue a case. It takes much more courage for a black family to take their child

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

THIS 26 AUGUST, 79, CAP CITIES, BLACKSIDE. THIS IS WASHINGTON DC. SOUND ROLL NUMBER TWO, CAMERA ROLL NUMBER THREE. WE ARE CONTINUING WITH THE COLEMAN INTERVIEW IN FRONT OF THE SUPREME COURT.

William Coleman:

Of course the lawyers that were involved in the case should get and they do get great credit. I think that sufficient credit have not, has not been paid to the parents and the children that were the plaintiffs or the parents and children that after the cases were decided, then presented their children, uh, for acceptance at white or integrated schools. Uh, for example in the Briggs case. Uh, the people that were plaintiffs in that, in that case that came up from South Carolina. The mother got fired from her job. The father got fired from his job. The children would be jeered that went into the school. The Little Rock case, there you had eleven or twelve children. You had their parents that each night didn't know whether their children would be killed the next day. Uh, it was such a event that uh, President Eisenhower had to call in uh, an Air For—an airborne division…