Interview with Tom Hayden
QUESTION 22
INTERVIEWER:

OK, JUMPING A LITTLE, A LITTLE BIT FURTHER UM, AHEAD, UH, TALK TO ME ABOUT THE SUMMER PROJECT, ABOUT STUDENTS COMING INTO MISSISSIPPI FROM THE NORTH, WHAT YOU FELT THAT WAS GOING TO DO FOR THE MOVEMENT AND FOR THE UH, S—SPECIFICALLY MISSISSIPPI AT THAT TIME.

Tom Hayden:

Well I was not in the Summer Project, I was, I was uh, doing similar work in the, our ghettos of northern New Jersey at the time, uh, but I knew the people well who organized the Summer Project and we thought of ourselves as, as doing uh, similar things. The goal of the Summer Project, had it been achieved, might have made a major difference for the rest of the 1960s. The goal was through legal means, within the system, to displace a party, a branch of the Democratic Party, the Mississippi uh, branch of the Democratic Party, which was clearly in violation of the Democratic Party's own civil rights stand, was clearly in violation of federal law, clearly in violation of the U.S. Constitution, and replace that party with an integrated black and white new party in the state of Mississippi. And had that happened, uh, I really think that it would have been to the, to the benefit of all and would not have been a political liability for the National Democratic Party, it would have been an asset. But instead, uh, the keepers of the National Party, the guardians of the gates, uh, decided, uh, I think for tactical reasons, that they could not offend, could not alienate the South. And by the South that was a code word for the segregationists. And so, uh, they embittered a whole generation of civil rights workers and of southern blacks by, uh, without reason, refusing to seat uh, the Freedom Democratic delegation. I remember being there then and driving away that night and it was just like a dagger had been driven into the heart of uh, of SNCC. Excuse me I'm losing my voice. You gotta ask that question, cause I don't know where to start on that, where are you starting?