Interview with Gov. John Patterson
QUESTION 26
INTERVIEWER:

…GOT THE ESCORTED THE BUSES FROM, TO THE MONTGOMERY CITY LINE AND THEM, CAN YOU JUST TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED AT THAT POINT ON FROM COLONEL MANN'S ESCORT…

Gov. John Patterson:

When the buses left Birmingham, we had helicopters overhead, we had state troopers behind and in front of the bus we had people, posted on all overpasses and bridges to see that no side roads, to see that nobody bothered the bus. We had an assurance from the city of Montgomery that they could handle the situation in Montgomery and that they would do so and that they didn't need our help. And indeed they had the forces to do it. Now we didn't depend entirely on that. Mann had brought in quite a number of our state people and had them placed around the town, just in case the city of Montgomery couldn't do it. And fortunately for us that we did that. When the bus arrived in Montgomery, just out of nowhere a tremendous mob materialized at the bus station. Thousands of people. After the Freedom Riders, and low and behold, no Montgomery city police, and it was obvious there for a little bit, that they weren't protected. Now when they got off the bus the crowd descended on the Freedom Riders and they got some of them down and started beating on them. And Floyd Mann, my director of public safety, Bill Jones, his assistant, and several others were there. And they waded into the crowd and straddled these people, one of them was Mr. Peck…