Interview with John McDermott
QUESTION 15
SHEILA C. BERNARD:

As someone who had made a personal commitment years earlier to integrated, interracial, nonviolent movement for social change, how were you personally affected by this, by the move?

JOHN McDERMOTT:

Well, I think you have to--

SHEILA C. BERNARD:

I'm sorry I was talking.

JOHN McDERMOTT:

I'm sorry. In terms of the, my own personal reaction to the new fashionableness of Black Power, ah, I guess I was disappointed by it but I think of myself as a, ah, a, a Christian humanist, and as a humanist we are aware that people are noble but not perfect. People are, no group has a monopoly on perfection or on failure. And the, ah, Black community is a human, part of a human movement or a human community just as every other community. And we have no right to expect all Black leaders to be saints, all Black leaders to have the vision of Martin Luther King, the, ah, spiritual vision that he had. We have no right to expect that. And, ah, so for me, I, I was not shattered by it. I, we live our own lives by our own standards and values. Mine have not changed. I'm still an integrationist. I still believe that nonviolent, direct action, nonviolent social action enhances democracy and has made an immense contribution to this society. I see no reason for changing that and I haven't changed.