Interview with Marian Wright Edelman

So, when Resurrection City was done, did you ever think about giving up?


When Resurrection City was done I never thought about giving up. It was, you know, I thought about how do I get up and figure out a new way, ah, to keep going. I don't think anybody ever has a right to give up, ah, on children or give up on the poor. The needs remain. The needs grow. I was raised at a time by Black adults, my daddy was a preacher like Dr. King where, if you saw a need, you, you, you tried to respond. And they showed us by personal example how to respond. In my little home town in rural, segregated South Carolina there was no playground where Black kids could go and play because we were segregated. So my daddy build a playground behind the church. There was no Black home for the aged in South Carolina to take the elderly. So that my daddy and mama started one and we kids were taught to, to serve and clean and cook. So we learned that it was our responsibility to take care of the elderly. The question was never why, if there was a need, should somebody else do something. We were taught to ask why I don't do something. And Dr. King and Whitney Young and others of the '60s reinforced that in college. And so when, and by his example, he struggled and went through his doubts. He was often discouraged. He was often dis--depressed. He didn't know where he was going to go from day to day, ah, despite the larger vision for what was right for America, ah, and so what right did we have not to try to carry on. None of us had his eloquence and certainly not his goodness, ah, but in our own ways, with our hands and our limited visions, we can try and craft together his dream, ah, for the children who have not yet had a chance to realize it. So no, it didn't occur to me to give up. It occurred to me to go on and figure out a way to make it happen.


That was great.