Interview with Charles Diggs
QUESTION 23
INTERVIEWER:

IN IN IN THINKING ABOUT KING, HOW UM, HOW DO YOU THINK THAT HE EVOLVED OVER THE YEAR-LONG BOYCOTT? DO YOU, HOW DO YOU THINK HE CAME INTO HIS OWN IN TERMS OF LEADERSHIP?

Charles Diggs:

Well, um, Montgomery at that particular time didn't have much leadership as we know it today. Er I had I knew something about Montgomery because er um for fourteen months from 19 from May of 1944 until uh June of 1945 uh I was stationed at Tuskegee, Alabama, about forty miles away. Uh the uh Army Air Force uh which was uh the headquarters for the the Black pilots er and er I er it was a typical uh rather small Black community uh where most of the practices er of of racial segregation had been accepted uh and people went went went on about their business. And er the er fact that er Dr. King er saw fit to er take the leadership role in this situation er um was I think the er the thing that in addition to Mrs. Rosa Parks' er er refusal to er uh compromise on this question was a thing that really really brought it about. In addition of that there's another person that was involved in that er situation that has not gotten nearly the kind of uh recognition that he ought to. And that happened to be a former, a former lieutenant er at Tuskegee um who er at the time of the boycott had er gone to medical school and was a local physician, uh Moses Jones, Dr. Moses Jones. And he became the treasurer for the er um Montgomery boycott situation. Uh he was independent financially and he had served in segregated armed forces as I had and had had his problems in uh at Tuskegee forty miles away, uh as I did and er he he was one of the one of the er prime stimulants for er the kinds of activity that uh that the Montgomery boycott er uh proceeded to take.