Interview with William Lucy

Now, you were laughing telling me, when I said "Was this a turning point?" because the ministers there and the way they were dressed and the reaction, can you tell me was this a turning point, and why were the ministers?


This was a clear turning point in the strike. Ah, the ministers who had came to city council to, ah, to lend their moral and personal support to the solution, ah, thought that the men had got, you know, bad treatment before the city council. But they, they did not, I'm sure, think that, ah, that it could not be repaired. Ah, when the violence broke out from the police force, the ministers were part of the march. Ah, and they certainly didn't believe that, in any stretch of the imagination, that they would be treated the same as ordinary blue collar workers in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. Ah, and the, the, the dividing line or the polarizing line at that day, if you were Black and on the street, in Memphis, Tennessee, in that area, you were treated that way, and no matter what your station in life was. And I think this was a turning point in the strike for at least one of the prominent, you know, re- religious leaders, Ralph Jackson. Ah, Jackson who was a conservative, ah, leader in the religious community, ah, but was maced right along with everyone else. Ah, just completely had a revelation as to who he was and what he was in the city of Memphis. And I'm sure there were others who experienced the same instant realization that they may be economically better off, they may have a greater stature in life, but before the eyes of the political leadership in the city administration they were still Black.