Interview with Albert Raby

What state was the local movement at when you invited King and the SCLC to come to Chicago?


Well, we had, spent all of 19, the summer of 1965 in marches against, the rehiring of Benjamin C. Willis, who had, been given a new contract, and had mobilized an enormous number of people over the summer. Ah, but the fact is that we had not been able to get any movement on the part of the school board to remove him, and so that I would say that the movement was at a low ebb when we invited Dr. King to come to Chicago. Uh it--his, promise to come was re-energizing to the movement. Ah, it created, brought back the coalition in the city, and I think reactivated us all. I think the, eh, the, and the response of the board of education was to announce that Willis would resign effective some time the following year, and that they were commencing a search for a new superintendent immediately. That the, the hope there was that they would undercut Dr. King's coming to Chicago and remove a major issue off the agenda and therefore he would be less viable.