Interview with Senator Roxanne Jones
QUESTION 9
PAUL STECKLER:

Can we cut. That was wonderful.



ROXANNE JONES:

Yeah, as a matter of fact, we loved Dr. King. As a matter of fact, a lot of us was part of that movement. Ah, but, ah, we in Philadelphia were somehow upset because Dr. King had not, we felt, spoke out on the welfare movement in this country. All the things he did was good, but we felt like he was a little lax there. So we heard he was coming to Philadelphia, ah, St. Thomas Church. And so, ah, Dr., I mean I'm sorry, Hazel Leslie, our chairman was alive then so she appointed me to be the one to ask him the question about why he had not got involved, you know, and adopted National Welfare Rights' philosophy on welfare mothers. And so he came, we went to the meeting and, ah, when my chance came around for the question, I got up and I immediately asked him, I didn't understand, how come you have not, you know, fought, help- why you're not helping us fight this fight, why you're not talking about welfare mother. And I went into the whole bit, you know, not exactly like as if I was talking to a welfare secretary. But here I'm talking to this man who I had great admiration for, whom I loved so much, who I felt had done such a good job, but I still had to be honest with him. I felt he had not addressed the question about my life and what I'm trying to do and about all these other welfare that was there in the room. And so I went through the whole bit. And he sat there and looked at me and listened, just as polite and, and the most earnest as I guess he could have. And when I finished he informed me that he had left Chicago last week and that he had indeed addressed the welfare problem and that Welfare Rights was indeed a good organization, he- and he subscribed to everything that we were about, and yes he was with us 100 percent. And I felt like a fool because nobody had told us in Philadelphia. George hadn't got to us that he was at that meeting and they had met in Chicago. And Hazel didn't know it. So therefore, you know, here I was confronting this great man with this question, and then, but he was so polite and so gracious about, in his answering me. And I just will never forget him because that's the day he told me, he said, "You going to be a great leader." I didn't even understand, I didn't even subscribe to that when he was saying it. And, ah, I asked him, "Could I have the pencil?" He had me hand it to me, and I said, "Well, I'm going to take the glass too." So I have them to this day. And, ah, I just think about him, ah, during the struggle when times have been hard and it seemed as though I wasn't going to accomplish a accomplishment, and, ah, I would think about Dr. King and he has been a great inspiration to me. And, ah, that was one the embarrassing things of my life, but it turned out to be a good thing.