Interview with Marian Wright Edelman

Why did you want to bring the senators down, and particularly I'm curious in terms of what your thoughts were about Bobby Kennedy before you met him in the Delta.


I tried to bring the people--the senators--I tried to bring the senators down to Mississippi because I was trying to figure out ways of getting the country to see. You know when the White students came down in 1964 that helped the country to see because it was their daughters and their sons that were there and they were afraid for them. These were not people, ah, who necessarily had been attuned to the problems of the Black poor in America at that time and still too much today does not see, ah, the poor Black, Brown, Red, needy child. So in one hand, one, one has to have, ah, someone to lift the window. After everybody left the young people left and at the end of the summer of '64 the problems were still left. They were different. They were changing. We had begun to make a difference. But there was so much suffering that remained to be alleviated. So one was trying to find new ways to capture the imagination and attention of the American public. So, therefore I went to see if I could get the senators to see that it was still bad and indeed was getting worse in many ways and that hunger was growing, ah, even though we had the right to vote. And it's always true that one good thing leads to another, ah, that may not be so good, ah, in getting people to register to vote. The cost of that for many is that they got kicked off the plantations and lost that little bit of money, unjust as it was, that they had had to survive. And so we had to put another means in place. This country is not very well about planning and seeing the consequences of social change**.


You ended up going on, stop for a second.