Interview with A.G. Gaston
QUESTION 9
INTERVIEWER:

OK NOW YOU WERE INVOLVED IN THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, THERE WAS ALREADY PLANS TO CHANGE THE CITY GOVERNMENT, BRING IN ALBERT BOUTWELL, GET RID OF BULL CONNOR, AND SOME OF THOSE PEOPLE. DIDN'T YOU THINK THAT CHANGE WAS COMING? DIDN'T YOU THINK THAT MAYBE MARTIN LUTHER KING'S INTERVENTION WAS UNNECESSARY, OR HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?

A. G. Gaston:

Well, we didn't-we didn't anticipate the need for Martin Luther King at that time. This Martin King thing came, and all of a sudden,** uh things sparked off down at Montgomery with this lady that had the bus problem, down there, and then Martin went on over to Atlanta. And uh, we had a fellow named Shuttlesworth that was raising sand around here. And his idea was to get into the schools, and of course, it was an organization that we supported, and what is this, I'm trying to think of that organization's, the name of the uh, Southern Conference, what was the name of it? Yeah, that was Shuttlesworth's movement, see? And I financed it. Well we, they had no place no stay when they started them folks from Atlanta, and Montgomery, and that's when I put them up at the motel, down there. They had no money. I didn't participate actively for any of the organizations, but I financed it. And some of the activities that uh, I didn't approve of, in a way. I was financing the group, but an incident, they were taking the kids out of school, you know marching. And I thought that was unnecessary. In fact, my idea was the kids, many of them, didn't know what it was all about to start with.** But they were using them, and very effectively. And I got criticized from them, by some of them. Hosea Williams, that boy is very popular, from Atlanta, now, he was one of the fellows who called me an Uncle Tom, a super Uncle Tom, old Hosea did. But the guys couldn't eat, they had no place to stay and eat, other than, they couldn't do nothing but get up, cause I was feeding them and putting them up down there. And uh that's the only I had-I was with the movement, but my idea of approaching it was somewhat different from some of the folks that you might call radicals. I was trying to approach it from, and I did it, very effectively. My place on the Chamber there, got some of the leaders to, to move. They were willing to do something for me that they wouldn't have done for Martin King, or to Shuttlesworth.