Interview with John Lewis
QUESTION 19
INTERVIEWER:

WHO, WHOSE, WHO WAS BEHIND THE MOVEMENT TO CHANGE YOUR SPEECH?

John Lewis:

Well, from, from the outset it was, it was strange the way that happened and to this day I don't know all what went to make that possible. We had, and when I say we, I would say the representative of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, had assisted me in preparing what I thought was a very simple, very elementary statement for the March on Washington. Julian Bond was then the communication director of SNCC—had to make copies of the speech available in advance. The Tuesday night before the march, we all were staying at a hotel in Washington D.C. and that night I was in my hotel room, I got a call from Bayard Rustin, who suggested that there was some problem with my speech, and there would be a meeting to discuss the speech and other arrangements for the March on Washington, and I should come down for the meeting. And at this meeting, there was representatives from SCLC, the NAACP—all of the organizations—the Catholic Church, everybody. And we really argued about, about the speech.