Interview with Bernard Lafayette
QUESTION 14
JUDY RICHARDSON:

What did you feel when you

BERNARD LAFAYETTE:

Well we were marching, it was on a Sunday I believe, and the brick was thrown and unfortunately, you know, it landed right in terms of Martin Luther King head. And of course everyone crowded around him. And I remember Jesse Jackson was not too far away and they pushed his head down in order to protect him because, ah, we realized that, ah, that was going to be a serious problem in terms of his being a target. Then the crowds--

JUDY RICHARDSON:

BERNARD LAFAYETTE:

That's the way it was like.



JUDY RICHARDSON:

BERNARD LAFAYETTE:

Well that Friday when the Gage Park demonstration took place we had people from all over coming in. We'd organized the gangs to help with the marshals. And it was really amazing to see the gang members learn very quickly what their responsibilities were. Of course they were always disciplined and another thing they had courage and which was one of the characteristics and requirements, you know, for good marshals. So once they had the training, they worked out beautifully. It was really something to see them participate as marshals knocking down bricks and broken bottles and that sort of thing. Then Martin Luther King was struck on the head with a brick. And I remember the reaction everybody had, they all, you know, surged forward and the march was stopped. Everybody said, "Halt! Wait!" You know and I remember Jesse Jackson running in cause he was right near Martin Luther King. And they held his, Martin Luther King's head down because we knew he would be the target for any kind of, ah, you know personal attack. And we tried to regroup ourselves. I remember the tension that people had and I, we felt completely surrounded**. It was like being in a long dark corridor, although the complete community was White and we were deep in the White community and they had us completely surrounded, literally thousands of people and never even suspected that that many people had such strong hostility and resentment. And, well, we didn't know whether we were going to come out of that situation alive because they outnumbered the policemen.