Interview with Harry McPherson

Can I ask you just about this specifically this memo, you, you told the President that the Civil Rights Movement was in a mess. The leadership was fragmented, the Black community was fragmented, and White resentment was growing, can you just explain what you were warning the president about in those terms?


In, by 1966 there had been a number of riots. The, the traditional Black leadership of, in the Civil Rights Movement, Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, Whitney Young of the Urban League, A. Philip Randolph was the leader of the Leader- Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. These men had been just as unable as Lyndon Johnson or any other, ah, well meaning White liberal--or any White conservative, for that matter--to, ah, cause the riots not to happen. They were just as powerless to, ah, cause people to, not to go out and break store fronts and loot and set fire to the homes that people lived in all around them. And they, they felt frustrated. They called, in the case of Bayard Rustin, one of the great leaders of the day, ah, who was an advisor to Martin Luther King, they called for a hundred billion dollar freedom budgets.


That's great, that's good I'm going to move on.