Interview with Myrlie Evers
QUESTION 32
INTERVIEWER:

WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE ROLE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DURING THIS TIME?

Myrlie Evers:

Oh, I feel that the role of the federal government during this time was one of certainly playing politics. I personally don't feel that the federal government stepped in as soon as they should have. Perhaps it was a thing of allowing the state of Mississippi to go about things in its own time and to see how far the state would go, but I rather believe that there was a great deal of reluctance because of—simply politics being played. Certainly the Governor of the state of Mississippi said to the federal government, you know, "Don't bother to come here." The threats were made that there would be no support, that Mississippi as such would secede from the rest of the country. But the important thing is that the federal government did step in, what I consider at the last minute, and perhaps prevented a great deal of blood from being shed that would have had they not. People in Mississippi, I think particularly blacks, looked to the federal government as a kind of protector and became a little disenchanted in all of it during this period of time, with the haste in which the federal government acted, and by that I mean that they did not act in haste, and perhaps were not strong enough at the time, in showing that they were behind what was constitutionally, constitutionally right.

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

TAKE TWENTY-SIX.