Interview with A.G. Gaston


A. G. Gaston:

Well, that was when I-the time that the black was just about ready to do some fighting back. ‘Cause they had bombs, they had dynamite stuff stored up around, some of it was around our place, there. And I could see, with dynamite in the hands of blacks who were very upset at that period, and the Klan, who was prepared, for those two coming together. And I was afraid then, to think, it was that time that the-to get the president to send the-the officers, what do you call them, the marshals. And uh, Martin King and I, we had a committee, went to see the president. I was opposed, I was on the Chamber, the Chamber really didn't want the marshals, and I agreed with them. We didn't want to do the outside, we thought we could do it ourselves. So I, I prevailed on King, and them not to insist on, Kennedy not to have the marshals in here. We sat in the office, in, with the president, I remember so very well. There was Reverend Ware, who was one of us, into the Oval Office, he had to go in the toilet, you know. That Oval Office, I, it was quite interesting-when we got through with the president, the president was pretty upset, he was breathing fire, he said now don't you go out there and tell the press out there that I wouldn't send in the, what do you call them, the marshals, there. He said y'all didn't ask for them. I said yeah, we didn't. But then, we met over there at the Hilton Hotel and uh, King and them had to prevail on me. I wasn't going over there unless we agreed to not to call for the officers, for the marshals. So we agreed not to call for the officers, and we didn't. And um, but they sent a committee. The president sent two – a retired Army officer, and whoever, y'all must know who it was. They came down, and from then on, just started to get the thing together. [overlap] The real issue was getting integration in the restrooms of the city, fitting on clothes in the stores, and that type of stuff.