Interview with Walter Mondale
QUESTION 40
INTERVIEWER:

DO YOU THINK THAT YOU WERE IN ANY WAY UM, TRYING TO SEPARATE OUT THE EMOTION FROM THE FACTS, TRYING TO OUT MANEUVER THE MFDP?

Walter Mondale:

No, look, I felt very deeply, and this was the crunch point—I thought the idea of sitting a lily white delegation from Mississippi, segregated, was an outrage, and that we needed rules to prevent that. On the other hand, I was convinced that if we just took an organization that really wasn't a political party, predominantly black, and seated them, that we would make no progress in what really counted—which is the objective of an integrated Democratic party and both whites and blacks partic—in which both whites and blacks participated. So I never really was for that answer, that answer. I wanted to set up a set of rules and an incentive for people from Mississippi and elsewhere, to go through that door of the political party, and build a political party, just not a quadrennial delegation that showed up with no significance to the public life of the state. And in fact, that's what happened. You see Aaron Henry and many other black leaders, uh, two years ago when a black, Mr. Clark, ran for Congress uh, practically every one of the major white Democratic politicians in Mississippi endorsed him and went up there and campaigned for him. I think if we just created a question of whether there's going to be whites or blacks, I don't think you ever would have had a, that phenomenon happen in Mississippi. So I think we chose the right way and we had some criticism at the time, but I think on the bottom line, we elected the two most civil rights oriented presidents and vice presidents in American history, and we did more for civil rights than any, uh, administration in that, in, in American history, and Mississippi is now, that is the Democrats, an integrated party.