Interview with Willie Felder
QUESTION 19
SAM POLLARD:

Now, Willie, why did you remain with those in the Michigan dele- Michigan delegation who decided not to walk out?

WILLIE FELDER:

Well, it, it, it wasn't an easy thing to do. It was very hard for me, uh--

SAM POLLARD:

If you could do remaining wasn't easy--

WILLIE FELDER:

OK, I'm sorry, OK. Remaining was not easy for me. As a matter of fact, it was one of the harder periods of my lifetime that I had to make a decision of that magnitude because you have to understand that 65% or better of those who walked out were my constituents of the labor movement, and, ah, it, it, it, it pained me to have to do it but then I had to weigh what was the objective of that assembly, vis-a-vis the, the insults and intimidation that had been engendered by Baraka and people of his attitude. But the content of the agenda outweighed my urgent inclination to leave with the rest of them. It meant more to them or to those that had left and to the national Black family for me and others, it seems to me, to have remained and saw the whole thing through in order to be able to interpret it to those who weren't able to be there and in order to be able to help to whatever extent you could to implement the resolves of the agenda. I did not share the view that it was anti-labor, or anti-White, or anti-establishment in that sense. It was my view that Black folk had every right to come together and develop an agenda of socioeconomic directions that's developed out of their own minds and their own souls and based on their own experiences and their needs. And this is what happened. And that's, that was, those were the things that persuaded me to stay. I don't regret having made those decisions now that I look back at it.

SAM POLLARD:

Let's cut.