Interview with Constance Baker Motley
QUESTION 51
INTERVIEWER:

WHEN JAMES MEREDITH WAS ENROLLED, DID YOU FEEL A SENSE OF VICTORY, OF TRIUMPH, WHEN HE DECIDED TO STAY ON?

Judge Constance Baker Motley:

Well of course, when Meredith was finally enrolled, we all were very pleased and happy that a difficult task had been accomplished. We feared for his survival obviously and we feared for him as an individual. We didn't know whether he could really withstand the pressures to which he would be subjected. As I told you, his basic fear was that he would be killed. I don't know how he managed to get through but he did. And so we were concerned about him as a human being, but he managed to as I say, pass his exams and come out from under that tremendous pressure in which he'd lived for then, when he finally graduated, was two and a half years of the daily pressure on him. He became a national hero and he had to deal with that. He then had to deal with the aftermath when people many years later tended to forget. There were so many other episodes in our history of equal significance. But I think he's managed to survive. He's had a difficult ordeal. And it had its effect upon him. Basically, I think he has survived and has been successful.