Interview with Constance Baker Motley
QUESTION 20
INTERVIEWER:

I THINK YOU TOLD US A STORY ABOUT THAT BEFORE, ABOUT HOW HE CARRIED A STICK.

Judge Constance Baker Motley:

Yes, when I first met James Meredith, he was carrying a cane and he didn't seem to me to need it. And so one day I finally said to him, "Why are you carrying that cane?" And he said "Well, I think that if I an attacked, I'll need it." He was a slightly built young man and he wasn't very tall and so he thought that the cane would of course serve as a weapon. And I said "Well, why do you need it here in the black community, you know, if you got to the University I could see that you might need it." He said, "Well, I think that if I'm killed it'll be here in the black community by some black person who's been paid by the state or other officials to do, to do that." He really believed that and so he walked with this cane because he was honestly fearful that he was going to be killed.