Interview with Joseph Rauh
QUESTION 3
INTERVIEWER:

TAKE ME BACK A LITTLE BIT. WHEN DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT SOMETHING CALLED MFDP AND THE CHALLENGE?

Joseph Rauh:

In March of 1964, I first heard of MFDP and The Challenge. There was a meeting of the then—it's now defunct, National Civil Liberties Clearinghouse and we were having a discussion of the whole problem of black voting. And out of the audience rose a man I had never met, Bob Moses. And I was the chairman of the Panel that they had at that moment and Bob rose from the audience and said, "Mr. Rauh, we are thinking of taking a challenge to the lily-white Mississippi delegation at the uh, upcoming convention in August. What did you think our chances would be?" Well, I thought for a second and I said I think your chances are pretty good, and the reason I think that is there's not going to be any excitement at the convention. Uh, Johnson's going to be renominated for President. He's going to choose the Vice President. He's going to write the platform. You might… this might be the one thing that would stir up the convention. I think you've got a good chance. I didn't know the name of the man who was interrogating me at that time. And that's how uh, I first heard about it. That's how Moses, uh, Bob Moses who was the executive director of COFO which was the uh, ba-backing the uh, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. That's where we first saw each other. Apparently um, uh, he… uh, I liked him, he liked me, and we started in partnership there for the uh, August fight.