Interview with Ethel Mae Matthews

OK, so, you're in DC for this National Welfare Rights Conference and then you went over to Resurrection City. I want you to paint us a picture of the first time you went to Resurrection City, what did it look like? What kinds of people were there? What did it sound like?


We was already, we went to Washington, DC, to have our conference, and we was there for two weeks and we'd have our conference every morning and then we would go to Resurrection City to participate in Resurrection City. Well, the first day I went over there, it looked like a little chicken coop to me sitting in a mud puddle, you know. Because it was raining the whole week up there. It was raining the whole two weeks that we was up there. And it rained on Resurrection City. So, when we went over, we'd go there every day to participate, in, ah, you know Dr. King's preaching and his programs and, you know, talking about poor peoples and everything. But, we'd have to when we wore pants we'd have to pull of our shoe and rolled our pants legs up. The ones who wore dresses and skirts would have to pull their dresses, you know, skirts, above the knee because Resurrection City was sitting there in a mud puddle. That's what Mrs. Retson[SIC] said it was all about. And peoples, I can't name all the race of peoples there, there were so many peoples there. You know, all nationality of peoples. And it seemed that everybody was there for the same cause and the same cause was bringing about a change for all poor peoples, regardless of race, creed or color, you know. And, it was good. It was real good because, ah, Dr. King, you know, he told us, all about racism, discrimination and all about that stuff.