Interview with Coretta Scott King
QUESTION 1
INTERVIEWER:

WE'RE JUST HAVING A CONVERSATION IN THIS. SO, WE'RE GOING TO START OFF IN 1955. YOU'VE BEEN IN MONTGOMERY FOR A VERY SHORT TIME—A YEAR, LESS THAN A YEAR. COULD YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE CITY ITSELF AT THAT TIME WHEN YOU WERE THERE?

Coretta Scott King:

When we moved to Montgomery in 1955, it really was '54, September, the conditions of segregation, and the humiliation that attended that, was very complete. Blacks and whites were completely separated and there had been several incidents where blacks and whites were involved, but blacks attempted to ride the buses, and where they had been beaten and dragged off, arrested and so on. And it was the cradle of the Confederacy, really, and no one ever expected any progress to be made in terms of race relations in Montgomery, in terms of it being the original place or the initiator. We were very happy there, though, in our church situation. Martin was the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. And that church had had a history of ministers that had been socially conscious and had been challenging the people to do something about those conditions. He himself, the pastor just before Martin, the Reverend Johns, had called for a boycott. He had talked about other conditions that black people suffered under and challenged them to do something about it. So the situation seemed to have been ready to—for a leader. We did not know that it was the time of an idea when we arrived, but that's exactly what happened. The idea—it was an idea whose time had come. And Martin was there and I think, I often say, that the man, the moment, and the situation came together. And the Montgomery movement started, really, when Rosa Parks sat down on that bus, December the 5th, 19—December the 1st, 1955.