Interview with Willie Felder

OK, Willie, if you can give me the, your reaction, the, the story about your reaction to Jesse's speech when you were talking to your friend in the delegation and, you know, why you were so upset, why the Michigan delegation was so upset.


Well, I was, ah, Jesse was giving this speech, and Jesse does a very good job in delivery, and I was standing there with a couple of colleagues on the floor, and one turned to me, I remember very clearly, and he kind of laughed and he says, "You know, Jesse did a, made a good speech, but he might as well have given that one in Chicago because this Michigan delegation is mad as hell and it just doesn't move them." And, ah, they, you know, they had good reasons for it because, ah, they had, they had felt neglected and denied the right for input into that conference, and, and we had 65% or better of the delegates who came from organized labor that constituted that percentage of Michigan delegation. And they just, ah, they were just not easily persuaded by, ah, you know, the, the, the, the baptismable oratory. That wasn't church time, that was nation time. They just wasn't in the mood for accepting any persuasion of that sort. I doubt very seriously whether Jesse was aware that that situation was that critical, because I don't recall him being involved in any of the mediating processes of it. I think that, that talent came along afterward.