Interview with A.G. Gaston
QUESTION 10
INTERVIEWER:

OK LET ME ASK YOU THEN, IF YOU WERE SUPPORTING MARTIN KING, AND SOME OF THOSE PEOPLE, AND GTVING THEM SOME FINANCIAL HELP, LETTING THEM USE YOUR MOTEL, AND THINGS LIKE THAT, SURELY SOME OF THE PEOPLE IN BIRMINGHAM MUST HAVE BEEN UPSET WITH YOU, DID YOU HAVE CALLS?

A. G. Gaston:

Yeah, yeah. My house was bombed, the motel was bombed, and but uh, I think what I did, helped save the situation from polarizing the whites and the blacks, because I was kind of moderate between the two. The whites wasn't too happy with me, you know. I had money, and I was supporting these radicals over here? so they were giving me hell, and the black folks, they were giving me hell, says I was an Uncle Tom, cause I was-I was trying to keep the town from-and so, when they started the bombing, I told them at the Chamber of Commerce, uh Sid Smeyer, who was a very prominent uh man in this town, who had, very influential, and I just told Sid, I just slipped up his office in the back, I couldn't let the blacks see me having conferences with him. But it was that type of uh communication that saved the town. Because the blacks was fixing to bomb up the town, they're getting dynamites out, and the whites, they were doing the same, and I could see, I'm a property owner, I had selfish interests there, my business was going to be burned up, and everything. So I told Mr. Smeyer what was fixing to happen. And they got it over to the [unintelligible], that I think saved the situation. I make no compromise. I think I, I'm proud of what I done, even if I caught hell on it from both sides. Because uh, today, you can see the climate in Birmingham that probably wouldn't have been here. After we changed this thing, then the white and the black began to kinda come to their sense, and this community started going.