Interview with William Lucy

Was it a mistake for the mayor to come and see them?


Ah, I think it, it was useful for the mayor and I think it was useful for him. Ah, I think he completely misunderstood, ah, what was taking place. And I think the men needed to understand his view of them. Ah, he thought that, as traditionally happens in the South, you bring the boss in, and the boss would state the issue and, and frame the debate and provide the solution. And then everybody go back to work and he'll take care of it. Ah, the leaders of the union at that time, ah, T.O. Jones and the rest of them, were quite clear that they had reached a point where a discussion would not resolve the issue. The mayor made the incredible mistake of stepping right into the middle of a very difficult, ah, ah, situation, that he couldn't resolve. Ah, those of us from the union, ah, if you know anything at all about workers, and you can read their minds, you know right away that an employer in the midst of an emergent strike is not going to settle it with, with kind words. After the mayor spoke, ah, there were some of us who had an opportunity to explain, ah, the situation in, in much more detail, ah, both in an effort to make sure the workers clearly understood what was taking place. Ah, and that, ah, you know, they had a right to, to, to confront an employer in the way that they were.