Interview with Bernard Lafayette
QUESTION 18
JUDY RICHARDSON:

How did SCLC prevent, their workers prevent the riots from getting worse?

BERNARD LAFAYETTE:

One of the things during this period is that you had riots in many of the northern communities and some of the other large urban ar--areas like Watts and other places--

JUDY RICHARDSON:

If you could say in Chicago so it's specific.

BERNARD LAFAYETTE:

In Chicago there were riots, but one of the reasons why you didn't have anything similar to some of the other cities where you had large numbers of people being killed on the streets in the ghetto community is because SCLC had a presence in Chicago during that period. In fact we organized a, ah, Peace Corps and went out in the communities during the riot itself and began to, ah, work with the people and also work with the policemen and those who were in charge of policemen, you know, shadowing them, saying, "No, you can't shoot. You can't kill people in this community. You've got to come up with a better answer." I remember Jesse Jackson's responsibility was to shadow, ah, Nolan, who was the human relations, ah, person and he was right on the scene. And Jesse was very tall and he towered him, you know, and said, "No we," you know, "we can't do that." That was his responsibility. Other workers went out and worked with the people who were actually participating, you know, in the disturbance. And that was a way of quelling the situation, so we could save lives and began to have a movement that could truly address those kinds of problems.

JUDY RICHARDSON:

Cut. OK.