Interview with Rev. James Lawson
QUESTION 41
INTERVIEWER:

CAN YOU GIVE THAT TO ME USING THE EXAMPLE OF THE LOOBY BOMBING? HOW DID THE MOVEMENT USE THAT ACT OF VIOLENCE TO ITS OWN ADVANTAGE?

Rev. James Lawson:

Well, the Looby bombing came in the middle of the Nashville campaign, and what we said immediately was there will be--we will not exercise our anger by trying to do outrageous things against somebody else, but we will direct our energy and anger in how we strengthen this movement. And so we asked people who were mad about this, and there were many, to join us in a massive march to downtown city hall, and to confront the mayor with what he was doing in his own statements that in fact encouraged the rabble-rousers to do this sort of thing, and what he in turn could do to make certain that the police understood that it was their task to defend the right of every citizen of Nashville to publicly protest. So that meant that we had one of the largest marches up till that time the South had seen, or that even the nation had seen. And it was a nonviolent, orderly march, and people came away from it with a real sense that they had done something that would help make a difference in Nashville. And I think the whole march was felt to be highly successful in the mass meetings afterwards. This was the attitude of just ordinary people.