Interview with James Figgs

So what I want you to do is think back that day in Marks in 1968 and think what it felt like. I want you to paint us a word picture of what the mood was like. Were people excited about Dr. King coming to town?


Well, you know, at, at that time, ah, ah, Marks particularly and Quitman County as a whole, Marks being a county seat, ah, everybody was excited about, ah, Dr. King coming to see about us and our problems. We had been hollering in the wilderness for a long, long time and it seemed that no one was listening to us. And with the various civil rights organizations having been working in Marks--COFO, SNCC, SCLC and NAACP and with the amount of problems we had had with the integrations of schools and, and the, ah, ah, violent attacks on students, ah, with individuals being thrown off plantations for exercising their right to vote, ah, yes we were excited. You know, some things that you can't hardly remember, but Dr. King's visit to Marks, it, just started the adrenaline flowing in your body all over again because, ah, we saw hope where we thought there wasn't any hope, as a community and for those of us who had been involved in the activities of the movement, ah, for the rights of people to express themselves. Yeah we were excited.