Interview with Adrienne Manns-Israel

OK, give me a sense of what helped to politicize you, what helped to kind of move you forward?


Well there were two things that got me involved politically and helped me move out of where I was to, ah, somewhat more consciousness. One of them was when one of the students was expelled from school because she had stayed out overnight, violated the curfew regulations. And for this she was not only put out of the dorm but they put her out of the college altogether. And Jay Green who was a law student, he started supporting her and taking up her case. And he would come out at lunch time in front of the Law School and there would be rallies. So I started coming to the rallies and I was working on the newspaper as a reporter, my freshman year and we were covering the story. And the Editor of the newspaper was interested in it. I think he was friends with Jay. So I started following this case and Jay was saying that we had no rights as students, that she should at least have a hearing, that it wasn't right for her to be put out of school with no hearing. And that was the first time that really I began to think that, well, maybe there were others who didn't like the situation and there were other people concerned and they were willing to do something. And the next thing that happened was second semester, I believe it was, when the Selma campaign took place, and we were in freshmen assembly which was a mandatory gathering, all freshmen had to go to on Tuesday's. I think it was like one o'clock. I had to sit there for an hour and listen to quote "culture". And this particular day they announced that if we wanted to go to the march, there was a march down at the White House, to protest Reverend Reeve's murder in Selma and if we wanted to go they had a bus, the student government had rented a bus and we could get out of freshmen assembly. Honestly, I just wanted to get out of freshmen assembly. I was tiring of sitting there and they said, "Well you could be excused, an excused absence," and some of the other students were going that I knew so I went along. And when we got down to the White House, first started out picketing and it was boring kind of talking. I didn't know much about what was happening but then across the street the Nazi counter-demonstrators, and the Klansman and other people started counter-demonstrations and the soldiers moved in, and it got very tense and a couple of my friends said they were going to sneak in the White House and stay there. They were later arrested, I think, and, ah, sent to prison. And they keep saying, "Well let's stay." I said, I said "My feet hurt. I want to go." And they kept saying, "Oh, no. We got to stay." And before I knew it, I was caught up. I was listening. I think I stayed there 'til about two in the morning. And it made sense to me. And for, for once the Civil Rights Movement never made any sense to me until then and then it really did. And I said, "Wow."