Interview with Leo Lillard
QUESTION 23
INTERVIEWER:

OK, SPEAK TO ME ABOUT NASHVILLE AND THE CHEMISTRY AND WHY, BECAUSE OF THAT CHEMISTRY AND BECAUSE OF NASHVILLE YOU WERE AB—YOU WERE ABLE TO GO OUT AND BECOME PARTS OF, OF THE MOVEMENT THROUGHOUT THE NATION.

Leo Lillard:

On February 13, 1960, Nashville had it's first sit-in and we were basically, I think a week or two behind Greensboro, North Carolina, so we, while we don't claim the, the having the first sit-in, it's clear that Greensboro did not have the chemistry that Nashville had. It had A&T University and Bennett College, but for some reason, we had a clear uh spectrum of, of people here that has never been duplicated not even in Nashville since then. We were the kind of cadre, the kind of fellowship, the kind of, uh, uh uh um, coalition that had every avenue covered, every square was covered by somebody's skill, by somebody's abilities, by somebody's nat-uh, natural talent, by somebody's uh, learned research. So that when we started, the movement in Nashville, unlike other places, it was clear we were destined to be the first city to break the, the lunch counters, we were destined to to to generate the John Lewises and the uh, uh, Jim Bevels, we were destined to create the underpinning for SNCC, we were destined to be the place where Stokely Carmichael would come to to taste the South. It was clear that all that would happen and it was clear to people outside of Nashville - Rockhill South Carolina invited us to come, invited all students to come, we showed up - only Nashville. Thayette County in this state was a place where we had to basically conduct a Berlin Airlift so that those folks would survive the winter when they were thrown off their sharecropping farms. Taylor, Illinois …

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

OK, THAT WAS A ROLLOUT ON CAMERA ROLL 324. THIS IS SOUND ROLL 1313. AND THE INTERVIEW IS WITH LEO WILLARD, [ W-I-L-L-A-R-D ] WE ARE NOW STARTING CAMERA ROLL 325, CONTINUATION OF THE INTERVIEW WITH LEO.