Interview with Rev. Joseph Ellwanger


Rev. Joseph Ellwanger:

Now, this was a very real question uh, with Albert Boutwell having just been elected as mayor of the city of Birmingham, uh he was supposed to be a more liberal, more progressive mayor and so uh, both uh, leaders in the Black community and the white community were saying please give Boutwell a chance to make the changes and uh, he'll do it. Uh, why are you pressing the issue with uh, these uh, proposed demonstrations coming right after he was elected? And uh, that was a real struggle because uh, Boutwell had made some promises about uh, fairer government and, but they were all generalities, and most thinking people uh, who were ready to, who really wanted change recognized that unless Albert Boutwell had some real help in making those changes, he would meet with the same resistance toward change that has been, uh, had been shown uh, down through the years. And uh, as we decided to, to uh, to go ahead with the demonstration, it was with the awareness that we were not an enemy of Boutwell, but we saw ourselves as really helping him to make change and to bring about the ferment without which uh, Boutwell would have had far, far more difficulty. In fact, he wasn't the one who really ultimately made the changes, it was uh, the merchants and the business community who recognized we've gotta make some changes or there's going to be more and more trouble, more and more difficulty in our, in our system.