Interview with James Figgs

We're back in Marks. Now the people in Marks are glad to see King, your mom's excited about King. You go to this meeting with your mother, you were a lot younger back then, and did you yourself buy Dr. King's program, were you into non-violence at that point? What did you think of his ideas and his programs.


I had been one point, ah, ah, considering, ah, to become a part of the non-violent movement, but, ah, being with, ah, SNCC and COFO and what have you, we, we felt that we had to be aggressive and, and, ah, we would, would not stand for anybody to, to, take our rights or deny our rights to us, but we respected and, and loved Dr. King and we wanted to cooperate. And we felt that he had the kind of national political backing from churches and politicians and people in high places in government that that would be an avenue that we could, ah, could travel and get where we wanted to go. And of course that's why we joined with NAACP and, and the non-violent movement, ah, and SCLC. And of course We were very excited, ah, about, ah, this Poor People's Campaign that he spoke about. It's the first time that the concentration had been on poor people's and their living conditions. And we wanted to, ah, ah, be a part of that. That's what we had been working toward we felt through voter registration, that political power would bring economic power. And of course, and, and when Dr. King came to Marks and was so warmly received and we were able to turn people out to hear him that had never been to a mass meeting before**. So we were excited about that. A lot of work had been, ah, put into, ah, making preparation for Dr. King to come to Marks and, ah, we were just excited and we were glad the people showed up.