Interview with Leo Lillard
QUESTION 13
INTERVIEWER:

OK, WHEN DID UM, WHAT GOT THE ADULTS, THE ADULTS INVOLVED IN IT, WHAT GOT THEM GOING?

Leo Lillard:

Most of the people who were on the line were, w-w-were young, they were nineteen, twenty, twenty-one and down. Uh, some high school students were there, uh, usually we had one or two until, or, or several. It was clear that we had little to lose, we had no jobs to lose, we had no houses to lose, we had no churches to lose uh, we had no cars to lose. And of course in those days uh, uh credit and the ability to buy, to buy things was just b-becoming accessible to some black folks. And, and there was, it was these, a lot of black folks treasure those things. And we knew that the adults were not going to get that much involved, so we had to do things and escalate the whole conflict to the point where they had no choice. And, of course, sometimes things were beyond your control, uh, the racist pig that bl, that bl-blew up Looby's house basically w-worked right into our plan, cause what that did was that sort of was the s-straw that broke the camel's back. The adults could no longer say it's just those rowdy out-of-town uh, students raising hell downtown, not when we got one of our own, one of our pride and joy, Z. Alexander Looby, you know, at the coun—the first black councilman from Nashville, a-a-a-a a lawyer par excellence, how could you sit back now as an adult and do nothing? And what it did it also created a clear uh-uh competition among churches, black churches in town, and some white churches to, t-to see, to show that they were involved, they were on the right side of the issue. And it clearly gave them n-n-no choice, they became locked in, even when they'd never put their bodies on the line they were clearly identified, clearly had to, had to be on the, on the, on the proper side.