Interview with Robert Moses
QUESTION 20
INTERVIEWER:

SOUND ROLL 1350. LET'S PICK UP WITH THE ATTENTION OF BRINGING WHITES INTO THE BLACK COMMUNITY. WHAT THAT MEANT TO THAT COMMUNITY.

Robert Moses:

If you go back to Silver and his image of Mississippi as a closed society, it was true for the black community as well as the white community. That is the black community was also closed. It was not possible for white people to actually live in any kind of normal day-to-day association with black people in the black community. And so what we were trying to do with the students was to open up the black community, that is to make the black community a place in which black people could feel that they could invite whomever they pleased into their home. It was their home. We integrated the black restaurants. The little black stands, right. People could serve whom they pleased in their own little coffee shop, right. That white people were welcome in the black community even if black people were not welcome in the white community. That this business about separation and segregation was something which was part of the white consciousness, it wasn't part necessarily of the black consciousness. They were ready to open up their communities. That was one important thing. Along with this was the right to organize. We were fighting for the right to hand out a leaflet. Just to walk down the street and say to somebody what we wanted to say. When we first did voter registration, in Indianola, in 1962 when Mrs. Hamer went down with a group of us, those of us who were handing out leaflets were arrested. We didn't have the right to actually walk the street and hand out a leaflet to somebody about voter registration. Well, after '64 that right was won. ** And people had the right actually to organize. We were also of course trying to dispel the idea of apathy. That what the, was holding people back in Mississippi was their apathy. What we were trying to do was demonstrate the energy that was there within people. So when we held the…