Interview with Dave Dennis
QUESTION 30
INTERVIEWER:

WHEN, AT CHANEY'S FUNERAL, YOU HAD PREPARED A STATEMENT. YOU GOT UP ON THAT STAND TO DELIVER YOUR STATEMENT, AND YOU COULDN'T DELIVER THE STATEMENT. AND YOU ENDED WITH, YOU BEGAN TO SAY, "DAMN THEIR SOULS." CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT STATEMENT, TALK ABOUT THAT MOMENT, WHERE, WHERE YOU WENT AT THAT TIME?

Dave Dennis:

Well after the bodies were found there was this, uh, after the bodies were found, Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney were found, there was a basic concern about cooling things down because the country was angry uh and uh, I had been told I was gonna give eulogy uh at the church, in Meridian James Chaney and I had been approached by the people of my national office of CORE and others to make sure that the speech that's given is calm they don't want a lot of, you know, things stirred up and everything else like that and I agreed to do that, and I said OK, fine that's good. Then when I got up there and I looked out there and I saw little Ben Chaney, things just sort of snapped and I, I was in a fantasy world, to be sitting up here talking about things gonna get better and we should do it in an easy manner and non violence and stuff like that. It's because this country you cannot make a man change by speaking a foreign language, he has to understand what you're talking about. This country operates, operated then and still operates on violence. I mean if you said, eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth, that's what we respect,** and if we are, that's why football is so uh, popular, that's why wrestling matches, boxing everything in this country's so popular, it's an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth. And I couldn't see by speaking to anyone was gonna make any changes, unless I told the way I felt. And so I just stopped and said what I felt, and that's what brought it about. And there was no need to stand in front of that kid Ben Chaney and lie to him.