Interview with John McDermott
QUESTION 6
SHEILA C. BERNARD:

Can you tell me again what Daley's response was to Luther's strategy? how he would react?

JOHN McDERMOTT:

Mayor Daley, ah, resented King coming to Chicago. He, was angry at the notion that Chicago was just like Mobile or Montgomery or Birmingham. He saw this as a progressive northern city that had progressive policies. he thought of himself as a northern Democrat.

SHEILA C. BERNARD:

Excuse me, sorry--



SHEILA C. BERNARD:

OK, if you could just tell me again about Mayor Daley's response.

JOHN McDERMOTT:

Mayor Daley was angry that Dr. King came to Chicago. He resented the notion put forth by the Civil Rights Movement that this was just another hot bed of racism. He became very angry at the comparisons between Chicago and Birmingham or Montgomery or Mobile, the southern cities. He argued that it was progressive city, that we had a human relations commission; that we really did not need a Civil Rights Movement because the city was committed to do the right thing. Well, whereas the local movement knew differently, when King actually came to town, Daley received him politely and then every time Dr. King or the movement would raise an issue, Daley would institute some kind of response or program to show that, um, the movement wasn't needed and that the city was on top of the problem. This was particularly true if it had to do with city services. If Dr. King would go to, as he did, to the West Side and help to shovel out the filth in an apartment in a very dirty, rundown, section of town. Why, the next day the garbage trucks would arrive and the place would be all cleaned up. [Or if there were rats seen by, then the rodent team would arrive and the would be all cleaned up. And he did that over and over again to try to make a point. So he was angry at, ah, King coming here and he was trying to diffuse the movement by this kind of tactic. And it, it was tricky. It made things more complex.]**