Interview with Ernest Green
QUESTION 24
INTERVIEWER:

JUST JUMPING BACK JUST FOR A SECOND ERNIE TO THE UH… ARMY, AND WHEN YOU… WHEN THE ARMY DECIDED TO TAKE YOU IN, WITH THE SOUTH CAROLINA COLONEL. UH, WHAT DID THAT MEAN, GOING TO SCHOOL THAT WAY, INTO CENTRAL?

Ernest Green:

OK. The uh, the day that we went to school with the army uh, we met at Mrs. Bates' house again, and that was uh, the person in charge of the detail was a colonel from South Carolina, very thick southern accent. And I'd never—I'd never seen anybody with an accent that thick who was gon [?] be providing protection for us, a protection for me that just seemed sort of uh, incongruous that a white southerner was going to be the person to uh, oversee uh, our protection. And I was a little dubious about it when we were in the house—going through my head—"This, this dude really ain't gon to be looking our for me too tough." But once we got into the station wagon and I saw all the other paraphernalia, we had a jeep in front of us with three or four troopers and a machine gun mount on it, we had another jeep uh, behind us with a machine gun mount, and soldiers with rifles, and as we sped up to the front of the school with helicopters flying around. And this whole school is ringed with soldiers with bayonets drawn and we get out of the station wagon, and they encircle us with uh, must have been at lease fifteen or sixteen soldiers, and walked us up to the front of the school, I thought that this… Colonel from South Carolina couldn't be all bad. I mean he, uh, he knew what he was doing and he uh… he stuck with it so, we went to school with about as much force as you could go to school with. Uh, with all the army in fact when we got in the school, they then assigned us an individual soldier to walk us from class to class. He waited outside the classroom, and every time the bell rang and classes changed he would walk us—we'd have our own personal guard walking us to the next class.**