Interview with Virginia Durr


Virginia Durr:

No I don't, I don't remember, that, that failed. I mean they tried that with Dr. King but it, you know it fell by the wayside. Because you see Dr. King and uh, was an extremely astute politician, uh, he, he knew blacks were in the minority, and uh he wanted, didn't want to provoke violence cause he… I'll tell you a little story you maybe don't have time for it but I always thought it illustrated his point of view so well. I was in Washington and I had dinner with my brother-in-law Justice Black. I can't help but quote him because, you know, he plays a very important in the whole thing and he said "When you get back to Montgomery you tell your friend Dr. King to take those children off the streets and those people off the streets or they're gonna be massacred." And I said "Well you know it's very difficult for me to go to Dr. King and tell him what to do." And he said "Well you tell him I said so, that I said that if he didn't get those people off the streets they were gonna be massacred." So when I went back to Montgomery I went to a meeting and he was there and uh, was speaking probably and after everything quieted down I went and spoke to him and I said well I had a message from my brother-in-law Justice Black and I told him what he'd said. And uh, he looked at me and he said "Ms. Durr," he said "You tell Justice Black that I feel exactly the way he does. I'm terrified those people are gon be shot down and massacred." He said, "They never go out on the streets that I'm not terrified." But he said "There's something more important than that." Makes me cry almost when I think that you know that he died. He, he said "The black man and the black woman, the black people, have been so long been frightened, they have for so long been terrorized, you know by overseers or policemen or whatever." And he said "The only way they're ever gonna become able to be men and women in their own right and stand up to the world is to lose that fear. And you can't expect one lone black man or woman to come out and face dogs and horses and you know cattle prods and police and… He said uh, but if you get a hundred out or five hundred out or a thousand out, then they can do it. They can stand up to all those police and cattle prods and—but he said "The thing they've got to do is learn not to be afraid, they have to got to learn how to stand up against you know the kind of terror. And he said, and if they do get killed, he said uh, it will be the most you know, terrible uh sorrow to be, but they've got to do it. And this, tell Justice Black if they do die, uh, or any of em died, that uh it will give me the most terrible sorrow but they have to do it." And then he died.