Interview with James Forman
QUESTION 35
INTERVIEWER:

LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION. WHEN UM PRESIDENT JOHNSON USED THE TERM WE SHALL OVERCOME IN CALLING FOR A VOTING RIGHTS ACT, HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?

James Forman:

Well, we felt you know uh, you know we just felt extremely, I mean, alienated and we felt it was insincere because when he, we were, remember when he gave that speech we were in Montgomery, Alabama, surrounded by a, a posse of of of county troopers and and various people from the state. The black community in Alabama uh had been uh uh um invaded by these these these posses. When we were downtown in Montgomery and we, you know listening to the speech, you know in Montgomery in 1965, and that you know the President is saying you know what a great victory this was, you know, and you know Dr. King was there, but we were in Montgomery. OK, and when we got back to the black community began to explain to us how they had been invaded by these posses, uh, armed posse people had, had ridden up on the porches with their horses and so forth so that it was a mockery and it took us quite some time to, to get used to, to singing we shall overcome and I think we shall but it was you know it was like a cooptation of something which was very important and that the uh uh uh… uh it just wasn't real, you know and that, and that and it even now I mean you know we're attempting go back through the the black belt and all of the South you know to try to help people to to to get more rights because even now as I said it's it's there's a lot of terror throughout the Southern part of the United States.