Interview with Courtland Cox
QUESTION 10
INTERVIEWER:

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT…DID, ONE DAY YOU SAT IN THE SEATS. CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT WHAT WENT ON INSIDE…

Courtland Cox:

OK. That's right, that's right, OK. Once the, once they had a, a situation which said OK, we're going to give, the ah, what happened was there was some confusion as to whether the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party was going to get it or the whites were going to get it. I think that the whites were going to get it but they were some kind of conditions or they was, the spirit wasn't right. So the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party ah would, didn't get their seats but the whites decided they were going to walk out until Lyndon Johnson and the rest of the convention started treating them as if they were ah, ah, some sort of pariahs. So they walked out and didn't show up for the convention and we were riding, I think it was, we were riding a cab, Bob, Donna, and myself. And um the discussion centered around you know what to do and so I said, if they left, why not take the seats? And Bob said-I was kind of half joking really. Bob said that's a good idea. He proceeded to, to, develop, along with, with a number of the SNCC people, a scenario for getting the seats. And what we did was we got the badges of people, sympathetic delegates from around the country, ah, that said delegate's badges or alternates badges and you know the seats, the seats were empty because the Mississippi delegation had walked out and so all of a sudden on national TV at night, this, all the SNCC people, not the SNCC people, the ah the Mississippi people, ah with the help of the SNCC people, got, ah took the seats of the Mississippi Freedom Demo—I mean the, the white Mississippi delegation. And that was on national television and I'm sure that Johnson didn't like that. So the next night ah when we went back there were no seats there at that delegation. I mean they were, the Mississippi delegation was just a big hole. Everybody had seats around it and it was a big hole where the Mississippi delegation was supposed to be. But I think the point was made, at that point, that the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party ah was ah unjustifiably denied the, the right to sit in those seats who, because, and even though they had followed the total process that the Democratic Party had subscribed that they couldn't get because the question was not a question of democracy, the question, the question of who controls who got what was supposed to be gotten and the question of white supremacy in the last analysis.