Interview with Ivanhoe Donaldson
QUESTION 16
INTERVIEWER:

DO YOU KNOW ANY…ABOUT ANY OF THE SPECIFIC PRESSURES PUT ON PEOPLE WHO WERE IN ON THE CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE AT THE, AT THAT CONVENTION?

Ivanhoe Donaldson:

Oh there was ah, I mean, the, the ah, um there was tremendous pressure put on ah, ah members of the Credentials Committee, ah key delegates there put on by the Vice President, ah um excuse me, put on by the Vice President, that's correct. Ah Hubert Humphrey who ah Johnson was threatening possibly to drop from the ticket ah put on by the White House directly from the ticket ah put on by the White House directly from the President ah pressures put on by other elements of the democratic party. Ah namely Jack Pratt who ah was general counsel to the DNC at the same time he was general counsel to the National Council of Churches, representing what we thought were movement issues-at the same time of representing what was a direct conflict, party issues. Ah people were threatened, they had judgeships denied, ah ah other um ah little benefits that perks that go with being public personalities ah denied or provided. Edith Green, who was a very key person in the credentials fight, the congresswoman from Oregon was under tremendous pressures during that period of time by national elements within the party. And of course the delegates themselves from Mississippi, ah the Freedom Democratic delegates who were being carved up by all kinds of forces asking them to accept compromises or to go home and you know let the party take care of these matters. Well it was a tough fight and a symbolic fight and that, in many ways, I think, a turning point in the civil rights movement.

FILM PRODUCTION TEAM:

THIS IS THE MAYOR, THE MAYOR.

Ivanhoe Donaldson:

[overlap] No, no, no, no, I have to save those things for uh, uh [overlap]…no, no, no, no, for other who uh, uh, tell um, anecdotes, in a humorous mood. The um ah—I'm not sure there's much, more to add, ah in terms of organizing the march. It was a collective effort between both the SCLC and SNCC with SCLC playing the predominant leadership role and in many ways it was organized very similarly to the March on Washington. The difference primarily was that this was a march in the deep South. There was danger, ah there was hostility, ah there were elements of hostility in the march on Washington but this was in a totally hostile environment in the sense that you're traveling from Selma in Dallas County up to Montgomery ah so there was a great deal of concern about security, ah, about visibility was important in Selma because with visibility as with any demonstration in the South, came a sense of false security in the sense that there was a belief by most people in the movement that if you could be on the front pages of the paper, on the Daily News, have the attention of the federal government, had the attention of the American public in general, the likelihood of hostilities were minimized and in some ways whether myth or not there were hard truths that seemed to work out that way, you know, that there was a tendency of the local sheriffs and militia forces and white citizens groups, clan and what have you, to not be as visceral, and, as physical in their violence on people when things had major personalities involved. But the details of organizing the march, you know, ah, is kind of um routine in a sense. You put out a call, there's phone calling involved, of organizations, locations for people to stay, camps to be located, because this is a major march where people camped out at night ah you know all of the intrigues which were involved with that.