Interview with Nancy Jefferson

If you could talk about how Mayor Daley manipulated people on a real basic level.


Mayor Daley was able to manipulate, ah,people in--through his machine politics by having others to spy on others, particularly in the projects, the housing projects. People were threatened, you know thats where the masses of people were residing. And people were threatened through Mayor Daley, that if you participate with Dr. King, you'll have to move, because you know that was city owned housing. And that was a threat, you know people could not participate, it's either "I'm outdoors," or "I'm in the movement," and that was a hard decision for people to make, so they couldn't participate. And yet, spies in, though Mayor Daley spies on each floor to see who was participating. That was one level of intimidating the, the people. The other level, was you know "we will cut off your check," people were absolutely afraid of getting checks, and they would cut them off. Because it was, He owned, he owned that system, Richard J. Daley did, and with those of us, you know, that was living in our own house, I was living right here in this house, ah,when the time was with Dr. King., ah,I remember that I had just put in a whole new kitchen, the kitchen you see right in my house right now. I had just put that kitchen, had got a FHA loan and put in new kitchen cabinets, new sink, new bathroom and all that. And I remember all the inspectors were going door to door, to those of us who were participating with Martin Luther King, and they came to my house and I had, that kitchen was three weeks old. Um, the inspectors, and you know everybody if you showed your badge, you had to let him in your house. Some of us knew that we didn't have to do that, and I was one of those that knew that, and when he, this inspector came to my house and said I want to inspect your kitchen, your plumbing, and I says "I've got new plumbing, uh and I'm on my way out to work."And he says 'you can leave--' And we know that too, that they were leaving them in their houses. He says "I'll close the door." I says "not in my house, you cannot come in my house unless you get an appointment with me and inspect." You know, we had the argument at the door um, and I didn't let him in. He left, but the next week, I got a seventeen page violation for, ah,ah, for kitchen sink rotting. And most, peoplepeople's kitchen sinks, were, you know, that. But he wrote up all the violations, the plumbing was bad, ah,I need new bathroom fixtures, uh needed, ah,uh the violation. I had brand new, you know. I had to go to the building court, I had to go to court at that time, and I was able to give my contract of what I had just done with my kitchen. You know people were harassed at that level, ah,inspectors, for violations that they couldn't fix. So, who, when you got a violation, ah,who did you have to go to? One of Daley's men to fix, fix the code. Or else you know, you were fined**. It was a conspiracy that you could never think of that was going on down during the time that Dr. King came here, and how Richard J. Daley was organizing the politics of that machine.