Interview with Marian Wright Edelman

OK, we're back in Mississippi, Tell me again in more personal terms, what happened after everybody left.


What happened after everybody left Mississippi in 1964, was that I was left alone with one or two colleagues, ah, with hundreds of cases that we had delayed trying, um, in order to keep the movement going. There were hundreds and thousands of Black people, um, left with the same misery in their lives as, um, that had existed before though they had a new pride. The country had begun to see their suffering though it had not begun to, um, respond in a social and economic ways that would make rights real for them and for their children. And so we were left with just lots of burdens. You know it took me over a decade to use volunteers again because I realized that the key to social change is the capacity to stick with it year after year after year and in my panic of wondering how in the world would we try all these cases or settle all these cases, ah, you know I saw both the great advantage of having volunteers and outside Whites come in to change the politics of Mississippi but I also saw the limits of that, ah, and that the need for sustained, ongoing advocacy was going to be essential if the children of Mississippi and their poor parents were going to have a chance.