Interview with Bob Mants

Now some people say that, ah, Whites increased the balance during the Black voter registration in Lowndes County. And there were mass meetings and locals began to carry arms. I'd like to know whether the SNCC's nonviolence philosophy was able to work in this kind of situation, this dangerous situation.


Well, ah, there are many of us who, who come from, who came from different backgrounds. At an early part of, ah, my involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, ah, we had try to, to take the nonviolence ah as a way of life. It was my mother who told me differently. Ah, ah, it was not the people who called themselves the Black militants or revolutionaries. It was mother who told me that I could not be anything dead. Ah, the situation here in Alabama at that time was one of, of violence all over. There was constant fear for our lives. It was immediate and present danger, the awful talk about even the danger seen and unseen. And so it was mother who taught me differently about, around the question of vi- violence and nonviolence. It was not a question of violence and nonviolence. It was a question of whether or not you'd be able to live to see the next day. And we had to do what was necessary at the time to ensure that ourselves and our constituents, people that we loved and worked for, in this kind of way but to live. It just was the matter of survival.