Interview with Marian Wright Edelman

The Meredith March, it's your first on the national scene but really it begins to capture the words Black Power and Black Power gets turned into Black Only, by bad media and some other things. During those years you were in Mississippi.


I was in Mississippi. And Stokely was in Mississippi and again most of the SNCC kids were struggling on and off plantations trying to register to vote. And my dominant feeling about snow, Stokely, I mean, goes back to the earlier days of how he would come off plantations where he had been shot at and he could laugh about how close the call was, ah, and if I remember back to the Meredith March, ah, I guess I have two dominant memories, ah, it was at the end of each day, Dr. King, listening to Stokely and other young people, who by that time, had been so frustrated about the slow response of the country, ah, on voter registration and on implementing, ah, the new civil rights laws and who saw the continuing poverty and saw the continuing violence, that they were really saying to Dr. King that it was time for us all to be more aggressive and I used to remember how Martin would listen to the frustration, particularly after Meredith got shot, they wanted to do something. And he keep, he would keep asking, "Stokely what is it that you want to do?" And "Oh, Stokely is it really so bad?" But the patience, ah, of, of listening in the middle of the pressures of the day to day marches with the, with the police and the state troopers and the, and the, and the tear gas, I remember the tear gas and I remember Canton, Mississippi, particularly of the tear gas. But I also remember the houses with Stokely haranguing about the need to sort of be more assertive, to have Black Power, to push the Whites out, to have more leadership and more strong leadership come and Martin not really understanding it or understanding how and why Stokely was so angry, because he was coming from a very different point of view.