Interview with Jim Ingram

Tell us how the observers were treated by the guards and specifically the story about when you, the volunteer brought some food to you in Stewart's room?.


The prison guards ah, as well as the New York State, State Troopers but especially the prison guards ah, treated us with a great deal of hostility. Ah, they didn't say a whole lot but the way that they would look at you, ah, the curt responses that ah, came if you asked them a question. Ah, the townspeople were totally hostile. I remember a, a civilian volunteer, ah, brought in some, ah, doughnuts and coffee, and I guess ah, he thought that it was for the guards. Ah, when they brought it into our room, he looked up at us and he said, "Damn it, if I'd known that we were bringing it to, ah, you guys, I would have spit in!" And he in fact did spit on a couple of the doughnuts, at which point we threw half the doughnuts away and began a little discussion about what if he did know in ah, in advance and had already done something to this coffee. But we'd been in there for 12, 13, 14 hours, ah, some of us for two days without an sustenance at all, anything to eat or drink other than occasional water down the hall. So, ah, we went on and, and consumed it. But ah, those people were extremely hostile. We'd come through the ah, crowd assembled at the gate to the prison and we'd hear, ah, taunts of ah, obscenities and "Nigger, this" and "Nigger that". And the guards themselves, ah, almost unconsciously referred to their billy clubs as "nigger sticks". And they didn't seem to even notice that, ah, they were in the presence of, ah, New York State Assemblyman, ah, at least one editor of the New York Times, myself a reporter, ah, a United States Congressman, ah, they just didn't seem to care or realize what they were, ah, I mean how easily and loosely they flung that term nigger around.


Let's cut.