Interview with James Farmer
QUESTION 5
INTERVIEWER:

WHAT ABOUT THE "GREEN BOOK" THAT THE NAACP HAD PUT OUT, THE BOOK THAT THE NAACP HAD PUT OUT ABOUT TRAVEL IN THE SOUTH?

James Farmer:

I'm not familiar with the Green Book. No. But may I go on with the--if we were right in assuming that the federal government did not enforce federal law because of its fear of reprisals from the South, then what we had to do was to make it more dangerous politically for the federal government not to enforce federal law than it would be for them to enforce federal law. And how would we do that? We decided the way to do it was to have a group, an interracial group ride through the south. This was not civil disobedience really, because we would be doing merely what the Supreme Court said we had a right to do. The whites in the group would sit in the back of the bus, the blacks would sit in the front of the bus, and would refuse to move when ordered. At every rest stop, the whites would go into the waiting room for blacks, and the blacks into the waiting room for whites, and would seek to use all the facilities refusing to leave. And we felt that we could then count upon the racists of the south to create a crisis, so that the federal government would be compelled to enforce federal law. And that was the rationale for the Freedom Ride.**