Interview with Coretta Scott King
QUESTION 22
JACKIE SHEARER:

Why did you have the desire to make the connection between South Africa and the Civil Rights Movement?

CORETTA SCOTT KING:

Because apartheid is, ah, the worst, I guess, ah, form of racism, ah, that we have seen, in, ah, I guess, in the, ah, modern world and Martin always said, that next to, that Birmingham was next to Johannesburg, South Africa in terms of its oppression, ah, racial oppression. And, ah, that, that's why he felt that Birmingham was important to be the, the focal point of the, ah, the public accommodation's campaign. Ah, if we could, ah, if we could demonstrate the ending of segregation in Birmingham, ah, it would have, ah, repercussions far and wide. The other thing is we've always known that there was a connection between South Africa, ah, and what was happening there and what we were doing in our struggle from Montgomery on. There was a bus boycott in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1956 and it was linked to, ah, Montgomery in terms of its ah, influence, the influence that Montgomery had had on the people of South Africa and Johannesburg. And Martin always really wanted to, ah, to make the connection stronger himself. He did issue a joint statement with Chief Lutuli in 19, ah, 62, ah, and he made several statements um, on, on the, the situation in South Africa. He called for, the two of them called for an international boycott, ah, and he said in that statement, if only two nations really decided that they wanted to end, ah, the system of apartheid in South Africa, it could be done. And he named those nations as the United States and, ah, Great Britain. Um, but the fact is that, ah, ah, Martin didn't live to take on that cause per se, but he was very much aware of the interconnectedness of it, ah, as being a part of, of a problem which, ah, affected all of us. And in a sense, ah, we cannot be free until the people, the Black people of- and other people of South Africa are free.

JACKIE SHEARER:

OK, cut.