Interview with E.D. Nixon


E.D. Nixon:

On the second Sunday, in August of 1955, Reverend King was a speaker for the NAACP. A man who honored the professors of [unintelligible] college, Professor Jay E. Pierce and I was sitting in the back of the church when he got through talking. I said, "Pierce?" And he said, "Yes?" I said, "You know that guy made a heck of a good talker." He said, "He sure did." I said, "I don't know how I'm going to do it, but one of these days I'm going to hang him to the stars." And that was on the second Sunday in August, 1955. And on the morning of December the 5th, I hung him to the stars. And then after I had selected him and got home, after everything was over with, and I had a meeting at night, and I got home, lay in bed, then I thought about my promise. But, now the reason for that— Reverend King was a young man, very intelligent, young man. He had not been here long enough for the city fathers to put their hand on him. ** Usually they find some young man come to town and they got to be aggressive. They call him down there and pat him on the shoulder, tell him what a nice church he got. "Reverend, your suit don't look so nice to represent Bethel Baptist Church, or Holt Street Church, give him no attention, just standing here and get you a suit." His mouth is closed forever—for a suit of clothing. You have to watch all those kind of things. You know it's not as bad now as it used to be, but it used to be—and then that's why you hear me say that I have the utmost respect for A. Phillip Randolph. He couldn't buy, nobody couldn't buy him. And I happened to be a small fry, but I've turned down a many dollars that I could have had. It don't worth my—it don't worth it to me that, stay awoke [sic] half the night fighting with my conscience, knowing that I didn't do right. And I'm going—the day that I walk down that street and everybody that knows me, I knows pretty much all the folks—and I, I'm not going to sell for a lousy few dollars that don't worth it to me. I'm going to, to be a man. I'd rather do it by myself. 'Cause if something went bad, wrong, and I needed some money real—and had a good reason for needing some money, I can almost walk into any of one of these banks and get a get a few hundred dollars, or a couple thousand dollars if I want, because all of them knows me. And I—I'm proud I lived that kind of life. And I'm proud I've been able to make a contribution to mankind. And I don't just deal with…help poor blacks. You know, a white person comes up with a problem, if I can help him solve, he or she solve that problem, I help them. Because if I was going to go around there and said, "I ain't going to do this because she's white or he's white," I'd be doing the same thing he done to us, a few years back. So that—I've learned to do it like that, and I've found that I've made a lot of friends. I've—I was surprised a couple of weeks ago a man was telling me that a white leader worked for this company, in Sunday School. He was talking about that there were no more good mens [sic] any more. She said, she spoke, "Oh yeah, there are some." She said, "I know one." She said, "A man that I look up to—him," she said, "He's a black man." She said, "He's a man with integrity." She went on to tell them about me. In the end up she told who I was and four or five people there knew who I was, and they all started to clapping and applauding when she did. But supposing I'd a been ratty sometime, she never would have made that remark.