Interview with James Forman
QUESTION 34
INTERVIEWER:

NOW, OVERALL AS WE'RE HEADING AFTER THE FINAL MARCH, AFTER ALL THIS, AND WE'RE AT THE END OF… OR PRETTY MUCH TOWARD THE END OF THE SELMA CAMPAIGN DID YOU HAVE A SENSE THEN THAT THINGS WOULD UM, NEVER BE THE SAME IN THE IN WHAT WE CONSIDER THE TRADITIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. IN OTHER WORDS, WOULD THERE NEVER BE SORT OF A TOTAL SPIRIT OF COOPERATION THAT EXISTED THERE BECAUSE OF THE DIFFERING IDEOLOGIES PRIMARILY BETWEEN SNCC AND SCLC? I DON'T WANT TO PUT TOO MUCH WEIGHT ON THAT, BUT IT'S, IT'S REAL IMPORTANT THAT WE KNOW THAT THINGS CHANGED LATER. DID YOU FEEL LIKE THIS WAS THE, THIS WAS IT THEN? SELMA?

James Forman:

Well, yeah, for a lot of people, but you have to understand nonviolence as a tactic is how we conceptualized non violence and that, in reality that was probably what Dr. King did, I mean even though he may have said something about as a total way of life, but I mean you know there are a lot indications you know that, that it was probably a tactic also with him, but that you can only sustain nonviolence as a tactic for such a, for a certain period of time, I mean like it's, it's, it's, you can't expect for people you know to continually uh uh participate in demonstrations where you know the state troopers are using cattle prodders on the people and where their lives are are are under constant harassment. I mean there gets to be a limitation as to how long anyone can do that. I mean that's just, that's just reality. Now we felt that, that that so that people you know were becoming very weary of participating in these demonstrations, and Selma was a high point because of the massive amount of power you know that the uh State troopers and the government of of of of Alabama attempted to to uh, uh, uh, pit against people who were trying to get the right to vote because Selma was really a march for the right to vote. It was not a march for public accommodations demonstration, it was a march to strengthen the voting rights section of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and that the uh, the brutality of the state troopers you know was extreme you know in the uh uh uh, in the Selma campaign of 1965.