JUMPING TO THE MFDP, THE CONVENTION IS HELD IN AUGUST IN JACKSON. GIVE ME A SENSE OF THAT CONVENTION AND THE MOOD THERE WAS—WERE PEOPLE FEELING OPTIMISTIC, WERE THEY FEELING LIKE, WAS THERE A LEVEL OF HOPE THAT THIS CHALLENGE WAS GOING TO BE RECOGNIZED AND HEARD?
In the summer of 1964 we held a convention of the Freedom Mississippi Democratic Party and we had delegates from all across the state who for the first time were representing the people of Mississippi, all the people of Mississippi in going to the National Democratic Convention to say that they wanted to be a part of the Democratic Party. What they felt I believe, they believed that actually the Democratic party would embrace them, because it was the democratic party through the government, the Kennedy administration which had been actively in their minds fighting for the civil rights gains that they had already attained so, I think people felt that the democratic party would actually embrace them, I think there was a lack of real understanding of the depth to which the local Southern politicians were entwined in the Democratic Party and that there would be a real reluctance on the part of the national Democratic Party leadership to take in black people at the expense of the Southern politicians. ** But we tried to warn them at that convention that we couldn't necessarily expect that we would actually be seated. What we could expect that we would get a hearing, right, and we could expect that we would actually demonstrate that black people were going to now demand to participate in politics at the national level even if we weren't actually seated.