Interview with James Forman
QUESTION 3
INTERVIEWER:

TELL ME THE STORY OF, UH, REWRITING THAT SPEECH, BECAUSE THIS WAS DONE SORT OF UNDER THE GUN, I MEAN THE CEREMONIES WERE GOING ON AND WE HAVE A PICTURE OF YOU BEING VERY INVOLVED BUSILY REWRITING…

James Forman:

Right, well we, you know the rewriting took place at the uh Lincoln Memorial, and you know the and it was done out of a spirit of unity, you know, we wanted the March on Washington to go forward, and we wanted you know the SNCC's participation to be very visible and we certainly weren't interested in withdrawing from the March on Washington.** And when we were trying to resolve these conflicts, these differences I mean they mainly were coming from the um the Roman Catholic uh, participation, I think, I don't recall the name you know of the uh Roman Catholic representative at that particular time. So you know, we asked them to explain what were their objections to the speech, you know and then decide that we, those, those things could be met. You know and so the three of us John Lewis, Courtland Cox and myself, you know, we huddled and sat together and** um, and I was mainly the person responsible for redrafting the speech which I did, and I certainly don't think that there were any compromises. As far as I'm concerned the speech was much stronger you know in the, in the redrafting of it and it was done out of a spirit of unity, you know to try to make sure that, that we had the cooperation of the Roman Catholic church I mean, they were the ones as I understand it who was threatening that well if the speech was not changed, we would leave. You know, but these were processes of negotiations, I mean that's not, you know we didn't see it as anything major.