Interview with Floyd McKissick

Now of course you were a fairly new leader for CORE and so was Stokely Carmichael and Dr. King also spoke in many mass rallies. Was there any sense of competition among the three of you when you spoke at the rallies on those nights?


I think that, ah, there wasn't any sense of competition as far as I was concerned. I think that the movement itself had previously been an adult movement. Ah, the NAACP had been the dominant organization And I think that, ah, from the NAACP out came the Congress of Racial Equality and the Urban League had always been, as I said, urban had functioned in an urban setting. But in a rural setting now and as a result of the young people, ah, ah, since, ah, ah, the '60's, the young people had, had come in to in to CORE, the NAACP and I think it was more of a youth movement in all of the organizations asserting themselves, far more than it was competition among leaders themselves. It was a clash of ideas, no question about a clash of ideas.** Ah, I said earlier that, ah, Bayard Rustin had said that he would not come down on the march because our objectives were not clearly defined. And my answer to that was, "How can our objectives be clearly defined when the circumstances we live under as minorities do not permit us to totally define the problem. We must move, ah, when the least of us are affected. And we must move because those of us at the top have that sense of responsibility to move." So when we would go to public meetings and mass meetings, I think each group would probably emphasize one point more than the other. I think that there was always a thrust on the part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to always emphasize that this is what Christ would do, that Christ too was a warrior and was a fighter. And I think CORE would always say, "Black and White together." That was the theme that CORE carried out and that, ah, we believe likewise in self determination. And I think, ah, the SNCC people carried out the, certainly, ah, the, the continuation of what we both said but at the same time a form of more radicalism. Now, too, there were other organizations on the march too now. There was..