Interview with Mary L. Hightower
QUESTION 26
JACKIE SHEARER:

Now, can you tell me that again, but give me a sense that you're coming from working with the Mississippi Democra- Freedom Democratic Party and, and the sense that you had been, you know, there had been a lot of Klan activity, and then what it's like to see that.

MARY HIGHTOWER:

Well, after leaving home I'd say, and especially experiencing a lot of opposition to our trying to get organized local and a lot of opposition to electing people locally, we was really--

JACKIE SHEARER:

Sorry, when you can, if you could just mention Mississippi.

MARY HIGHTOWER:

OK, ah, coming from Mississippi and coming from Holmes County in Mississippi, where our area was and where we had been doing a lot of organizing, ah, we had just a year or so, elected our first Black representative, and even with that we were still experiencing opposition to organizing Black people or even getting Black people elected to office. And, what, putting an effort, even with that we still were able to organize people from our areas in Mississippi to go to Gary and to really accomplish and really to make it to Gary, ah, made all of that effort worthwhile because, um, when we got there, they says, you know, "This is the new hope. This is the new dream for us." You know, to, you know, here, at the convention, we're going to be participating, we're going to be finding a way to really overcome what we just left. And, to go in there and to see all the people there and, and really get a sense of what we were there for and to organize and to furnish leadership to each of us that needed it, this was one of the most exciting times that, that, that, for me, and for all of us. And to see the pe- each of us in our, each of our local areas, you know, going, say, for instance from Mississippi, our delegation group down, once, once we got there and we had to register and we signed in, ah, even then, we, ah, we thought we had really experienced excitement, but I guess the greatest time it was is when we had to answer roll call, and, ah, we got in and, and, ah, to me, roll call says that, you know, we had made, you know, we really did it, you know, because this is, we were really, we really accomplished organizing this party.