Interview with Mary L. Hightower
QUESTION 29
JACKIE SHEARER:

I froze there, we could all. Give us a sense of what you saw. So what was it like, that's OK, what was the physical, there were the dashikis, I mean, people in long dresses, there were folks, a lot of, Baraka's people were all in Black, I mean, it was all, OK.


JACKIE SHEARER:

OK, give me a sense of what you saw, what you saw when you walked in there and the sense of confusion you had at first and then what that developed into.

MARY HIGHTOWER:

OK, ah, when I first went in to the convention and, ah, I began to, you know, look at the different people that were there and, really, it was, ah, I was stunned, you see, seeing people weighing dashikis, some wearing long dress with the headbands, and, ah, and, and, um, seeing people with the, ah, ah, you know, ah, Black outfits and so on, it was just, ah, something that we couldn't relate to, because we were, you know, in our areas, people didn't dress that way, and, and, ah, and as a matter of fact, we didn't have any people, you know, that, ah, even remotely associated to wearing an African hairstyle at the time, Afro. And, to go in, it really made you wonder, you know, if, if you were at the right place or if you, if I'm here, my being here if it's really going to make a difference. Ah, it, it, it was just a state of confusion right then. When you looked over the, over the room, looked over the convention hall and you saw all of these different people there, and, ah, just saw all of these different dresses, coats, ah, different, ah, even talking different languages than we were, and, we began to, I began to really wonder, you know, how I was going to relate to this, you know, how, what am I going to get out of this, and even if I was going to get anything, ah, to carry back home. But, ah, after getting through that point and, and, ah, really, ah, people getting organized, people getting signed in and identified at the convention, then the convention took on a whole different meaning. Ah, the true meaning of the convention came out, and people began to address problems, ah, problems that we all could relate to, ah, not having Black leadership, not having a Black national party, and, ah, all these other things just seemed to cease, and it was at that point that we realized that, and I realized that, even though we were there, ah, different in appearances and even a lot of, in our languages and all, but we were all one and the same.

JACKIE SHEARER:

Cut please. Yeah, OK, thank you.