Interview with David Dawley

Tell me how you learned that Meredith was shot and your decision to go and how you organized other people to go.


I was in school at Michigan with people who cared that there was racism in the country and we wanted to make a difference, we felt there should be social change in the country. When Meredith was killed, I don't remember where I was, but I remember images from television of the march and in a sense those images were a call for us to stand up with Meredith and with others who had joined the march, ah, for changes that we felt were necessary in the country. At that time I was chairman of Action for Human Rights, a group that we'd started at Michigan, ah, to become involved with, ah, racial discrimination around Ann Harbor and Detroit. We decided to organize students to join the march. After a newspaper report, ah, listed my name and telephone number as an organizer of the march, I got a call about two o'clock in the morning, ah, saying that I would pay dearly if the march continued. Since we knew there was Ku Klux Klan around Detroit, we took that seriously, so my roommate and I immediately turned off the lights, crawled along, along the floor and I called the police and wondered what to do. Our, our fear turned, turned to anger, ah, very quickly and, ah, of course we continued making plans to go with the march. We weren't going to be, ah, turned off the march by someone calling to threaten us. In fact, ah, we identified to some extent with Meredith who had been threatened before he went on the march.