Interview with Slim Coleman
QUESTION 14
JAMES A. DeVINNEY:

Were people ever afraid?

SLIM COLEMAN:

To register to vote? Oh, yeah, a lot of people, ah, afraid to register to vote. And once you get registered to vote, ah, then they know where to find you. And everybody's got a problem. Anybody that makes less than $15,000 a year and some people make a lot more have a problem with some bill not being paid or some traffic ticket or some, whatever it is, ah, and I- then I think people were generally, this was a very intimidating political machinery here for years and years and years and, ah, if you didn't vote right, you got cut off from public aid and they came and threatened you. If you didn't vote right then the building inspector came by, you know, into your house or into your business, you know, or to where you worked. You could lose your job, not just with the city but in the private sector because they had tentacles in there if you didn't vote right. If you weren't registered, you didn't have any problem with that. If you just stayed out of that system altogether, it's like the Mafia, if you didn't get involved with them then you couldn't get hurt by them. A lot of people got hurt by the political machine. So, if I just stay out of that mess, don't register to vote, I'm not on the list.

SLIM COLEMAN:

I'm not involved with the Mafia or the machine and I can just go ahead and try and live my life. So, there was a lot of fear. They're really was a lot of fear. And then it's embarrassment, you know, people that had not been, ah, part of that process, ah, which is supposed the basic American citizenship right, ah, they don't like to go in and say that I don't really know what this is all about. They think I'm going to go in and it's probably more complicated and I'm going to have give some information that I don't have or show that I really don't know what this form looks like, you know, so people, there was an embarrassment, ah.