Interview with Mary L. Hightower
QUESTION 34
JACKIE SHEARER:

Give me a sense of what was at risk. You say that the national eyes were on you and then the local eyes were on you too, give me a sense of that.

MARY HIGHTOWER:

Um, we knew that going to Gary that there was a great risk, once we, you know, if we had failed, um, and going back home would have been--

JACKIE SHEARER:

If you could begin again and just say, "If we failed", not "Had failed", because you're still in time.

MARY HIGHTOWER:

If we failed--

JACKIE SHEARER:

I'm sorry, just start all over.

MARY HIGHTOWER:

We, ah, leaving Mississippi and going to Gary, ah, we knew that we were taking a great risk, I mean, ah, not only to, a risk of not being able to accomplish anything, but also the risk of going back and maybe even getting stronger opposition, and, and, facing a lot more problem than we had, ah, before we left. But, and, and if we had failed, we c- would not have been able to go back and to participate or even to ha- just even get the respect of local people, the local Whites or the local democratic party, um, we, we would've, we wouldn't have been able to, ah, ge- to, to, to participate or, or anything because they would've, I would've, I felt like they would say that if we failed, you know, as a body, then we couldn't expect them to respect us and to open their doors to us, so we, we, we had no choice but to succeed. And, ah, w- we did.