Interview with Burke Marshall
QUESTION 17
INTERVIEWER:

WAS IT THE FREEDOM RIDES THAT CATYLIZED THE CHANGE IN ICC REGULATIONS OR WAS THAT SOMETHING THAT WAS ALREADY IN THE WORKS? MAYBE YOU COULD DESCRIBE HOW THOSE REGULATIONS AFFECTED [POLICIES?].

Burke Marshall:

Before the freedom rides, I was directing my attention to interstate travel facilities. My focus then was on airports. The reason my focus was on airports was because I had a call, a personal visit from the president of Tuskegee—Tuskegee Institute which is near Montgomery—a very distinguished man, a distinguished educator. Tuskegee is a distinguished educational institution. It is primarily, or almost all-black institution. He told me how he himself was insulted every time he went through the airport in Montgomery and not only that he brought visitors from other countries and from all over the United States down to speak at Tuskegee and they had to go through and airport where the drinking fountains were labeled colored and white or the bathrooms were labeled colored and white. Where the eating facilities were labeled colored and white, and he was outraged and he brought it to my attention, as I said I was new at the job but I thought that was outrageous. So I'd started to work on that. We didn't have that many direct statutes that we could work from but I started to work on the airports. When the Freedom Rides happened in the bus stations, there was already in place a sort of general ruling of the Supreme Court, that segregation, racial segregation in interstate bus stations was illegal. The trouble is that that general rule of law wasn't implemented in any way. So that the Freedom Rides and the events of the Freedom Rides was a catalyst to spur the Department of Justice to go to the ICC and ask the ICC to implement through new regulations, this rule that prohibited, this statutory rule that prohibited a, racial segregation in the state bus travel, including the stations.

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

SOUND 14.

Burke Marshall:

…the stations.