Interview with Rachel Nelson West
QUESTION 7
INTERVIEWER:

TELL ME ABOUT THE FIRST TIME YOU SAW MARTIN LUTHER KING, WAS IT MAGICAL, WAS IT SPECIAL, THE VERY FIRST TIME YOU WERE 9 YEARS OLD AND YOU SEE THIS MAN.

West:

Oh, yes, because all the people was gathering and they was all whispering saying, this great man coming to set the black people free. To help them get the right to vote. Equality and justice, equality and justice for all men. And Cheyenne and myself were just wondering, who is this great man? Matter of fact we used to see him on television, hear him on radios, and finally we was getting to meet this particular man. When Dr. King came to the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, it was just like, oh, like the Lord has come. He was a man of great dignity and pride. He was a man of great admiration. A man in which all people believed in and loved. Dr. King overcame all of this for black people. I don't think, I think without, Dr. King power and concern, for black people, I don't think we would have overcome. Back then, my parents, they couldn't vote. Matter of fact no black people could vote. Black people could not go to public places. We could not go into theatres, movies, libraries. We could not even use the water fountain of our choice. We could not go into the courthouse. Just imagine not being able, I mean just free to do these things. If you can't vote, you ain't free, and if you ain't free, well then, you're a slave.** So therefore we were slaves. We didn't have our freedom.