Interview with Don Evans


Don Evans:

Yeah. It did, because uh participating in something, being there, is totally different than reading about it, you know, you can get a unique experience from reading about a tragic story you know, or some strange occurrence, but, but actually bein' there, you know, seein' these things bein' done, and, knowing all the time that you, you don't like it, you know, but there's really nothing you can do about it, but get out there and march and let the dogs bite you and get the water on you and, you know, get the billy-clubs upside your head, and even get killed you know. So, yeah, it had a tremendous effect, really. You know, but uh… I've seen in my lifetime here in Birmingham, I was born raised and reared right here in Birmingham, and uh… except for the school and the army, you know, I spent most of my time right here in Birmingham. And I've seen it go through, I know two, two dramatic changes you know, in the '63 uh, period, the riots you know, that was one tremendous change that Birmingham went through, because you know, it's basically a quiet town, it's, it's a, workin' man's town, church-goin' people, you know, very religious town. So, so to think that that your leaders, right here in Birmingham, your political leaders, your religious leaders could uh, you know, let something like this happen, you know. It was just a tremendous thing, you know, to see that period go, go by. And, and after Dr. King was assassinated, you know, Birmingham went through another change, you know, and instead of progress and the black people, we started shifting backwards. You know and we're still, still doin' it right now. But that's because we don't really have a, a leader, that has the charisma to lead a mass group of people right now, You know, we got brother Jesse Jackson, Abernathy, you know, but… they just don't possess the charisma that Dr. King had, you know, So, uh if we don't get a grip on ourselves, I think that Birmingham will be not exactly like it was in '63, but I think it might come to, to some more you know, fights in the street, here in Birmingham. I, I hope it don't, you know, but things' not gettin' any better. You know it's getting worse, but we're hurtin' our own selves, you know black people doin' black-on-black crime, or you know, I gotta go out there and rape your sister, you gotta rape my sister, you know that type thing. But, if we ever, you know, can ever put it all back together and learn that we gotta unite, stick together, do the things that it take to see one another progress, then I think we'll be OK. But as of right now, it has to change.