Interview with Joseph Rauh
QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

SO, YOU, YOU COME TO ATLANTIC CITY. DO YOU… YOU PLAY ON A STRATEGY, BECAUSE YOU'RE REALLY THE TACTICIAN IN THIS PERIOD. TELL US ABOUT THE STRATEGY.

Joseph Rauh:

The strategy for the '64 Convention in Atlantic City was laid earlier. I went to the meeting, the Convention of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in uh, early August. The Democratic National Convention is late August. But in early August, uh, they had a convention in Jackson, at the uh, temple there on uh, Lynn Street. I'll never forget it. Uh, and uh, there at that convention they… it was practically all black. There may have been a couple of whites, uh ringers and so forth, but it was a black party, and uh they were uh, meeting there in a Masonic Temple in Lynn Street. And I spoke and the strategy was adopted there. The strategy was called, "11 and 8." What 11 meant was you needed 11 members of the Credentials Committee for a minority position, that's 10 percent of a 100 and something. And you needed eight states to get you a roll call. ‘Cause you couldn't win without a roll call. The Chairman of a Democratic Convention always hears a voice vote the way the machinery wants. So you have to have a roll call if you're ever going to win anything. So when I announced, the strategy is 11 and 8, and I kept pounding away at 11 and 8, and they were shouting 11 and 8 before the speech was over, and that was the strategy. That's all the strategy you need. Uh, nobody wants to vote, er, nobody that year wanted to vote against blacks they just didn't want to vote for them. So if they could shove it under the rug that would be fine. 11 and 8 made it impossible to shove it under the rug. That was our strategy. When I got back to Washington after the Convention I got uh, the White House suddenly realized that we had a strategy, that we had something that was pretty hard to beat. After all you ought to be able to find 11 people in a 100, and you ought to be able to find eight states in uh, 50, I mean how in heaven's name could they beat us? So they really got us scared. And I got a lot of pressure, and uh, pressured right up to the Convention time, but, uh, what the heck, it's… was a lot of fun, and I was going to eat whether they pressured me or not, so I went ahead with the fight, and uh, that was the situation. We wrote a brief show on the outrageousness of Mississippi. How the whites wouldn't let the blacks vote. At that time only 6 percent of blacks were registered to vote. And only about two percent of them actually voted, so that this was a perfect case to take to the convention.