Interview with Coretta Scott King
QUESTION 40
INTERVIEWER:

I'M GOING TO MOVE YOU AHEAD, ALSO, NOW TO THAT KEY SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY, IN SELMA. I'M WONDERING, HOW DID DR. KING REACT TO THE NEWS? HE WASN'T IN TOWN, BECAUSE HE WAS IN ATLANTA DOING OTHER WORK, BUT WHAT WAS HIS REACTION TO THAT?

Coretta Scott King:

Well, whenever there was violence of any kind, it was depressing to Martin. Because he understood the potential of, of, of destroying community, destroying life, and unnecessary life, it, it is not controlled, and if it's not stopped, really. And what he wanted to do was to try to find a way to turn this into, to a nonviolent struggle. A struggle had to be but it must be nonviolent. The violence came from the opposition. But when I talked to him that evening, and I was out in San Francisco when he, when he, when he called. I called him and he seemed so depressed. I said to him, and I was trying to think of something to cheer him, that if you have all those people to come in, as he was mobilizing people to come in, I think it was for Tuesday, and this was Sunday night, then you can, you know, write your own law, so to speak. There was an injunction against marching, the same kind of thing that had been tried in Birmingham, and we had, the people already having been hurt, and so on. And it was just dangerous to try to do this, unless we could get the federal, the National Guard federalized. And this is what he was asking the President to do, to federalize the National Guard. The troops were already there. And they were the Alabama National Guard. And what he wanted to do was to federalize them. And so that's what he was hoping and asking for. But it was a very difficult time for him and for, for me too, because I felt torn. Since I wasn't, I wasn't in Atlanta, and I wanted to rush back. I was out west, trying to raise money through my Freedom Concerts, performances, and, and I said to Martin, "I'll come back." And he said, "No, you don't need to come back. You stay, because you're making a contribution too." But I knew what I would do. If anything happened, I was going to take that first plane out. But fortunately, I didn't have to do that, but, but Selma was, in many ways very rewarding, but in many ways very frustrating too.