Interview with E.D. Nixon
QUESTION 15
INTERVIEWER:

HOW DID—TELL ME THIS, HOW DID YOU GET—IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE TO DECIDE TO BOYCOTT THE BUSES, BECAUSE IT WAS—IT WAS A REAL SACRIFICE AND IT WAS A REAL DANGER INVOLVED. HOW DID YOU GET PEOPLE MOTIVATED, AND DID YOU, DID YOU REALLY GET THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT IT WAS GOING TO BE LONG?

E.D. Nixon:

I told them that—that Monday night I said, "This is going to be a long drawn out affair." I said, "Before it's over with somebody going to die." I said, "It may be me for all I know." I said, "All I asked, if it me, don't let me die in vain." I said, "But we have started this thing, and we in here together and we going to hold out till we win." And, and we won. And you take one night that we—we was at the church one night, and see, everybody knew me there pretty much, and I saw a man come up the aisle walking fast, and the eyes up on the rostrum. I was sitting on the rostrum. And I got up and met him to interrupt and he said, "The fire department down there," and this church is high from the ground in front. He said, "The fire department down there, said he got to inspect this church." I said, "OK, go back down there and watch them, don't let them plant nothing. Get you a couple of men and watch them. Don't let them plant nothing." Just like that. Then I touched the man who's talking—I don't know whether it was Rev. King nor Abernathy, one or the other of them was talking—was talking. And I said, "We going to have to dismiss," I said, "but let me make a statement so the people don't get excited." I said, "How many people here know me?" I said, "Hold up your hands." And hands went up all over the church. I said, "I'd like to see the hand of any man or woman in here that can truthfully hold up his hand and say that I misled them." I said, "I'd like to see that hand." I didn't see nothing. I said, "All right," I said, "Now, I'm going to, to tell you something." I said, "I want you to keep your seat." I said, "And keep calm." I said "The fire department's down there." I said, "They brought ‘round the fire department out here with the bells ringing for you all to run down the steps and fall and break your leg or neck or something, so they get a chance to sue us." I said, "We going to start up here at the front." I said "The first line to have seats here on this side, going to march out of the audience, slowly." I said, "And sing a song," and they started singing, "We Shall Not Be Moved." I said, "Next aisle," and the next aisle on this side come in, and next on this side. Went all the way down and then me and all the ministers was on the rostrum fall, fell in behind the last row there and walked on down. And then I went got to the last of the line and I walked over to the side of the guy who came up and told me what had happened, "You know the white detective standing over there?" When I walked over there, he looked at me and says, "You son of a so-and-so." But we, we done it so calm and everybody walked out of there so calm, when we got, got everybody down, I said, "OK, there John, you can lock the doors, everybody's out." And then we load the car and went on out. Then after we left, he left. But all they wanted us to do was run down the steps and fall down there and get somebody hurt and he could sue us and break up the bus boycott.