Interview with Rev. Frederick Reese
QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

NOW, WON'T YOU JUST, FOR PEOPLE WHO JUST HAVE NO CLUE AND IT'S REALLY NOT CLEAR WHEN YOU READ IT IN HISTORY BOOKS, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU WERE A BLACK PERSON AT THAT TIME AND YOU WENT TO THE COURTHOUSE TO REGISTER TO VOTE, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN.

Rev. Frederick Reese:

You would uh, if you were a black person, and went to the courthouse, first of all, more than likely you would have to stand in line um, because of the number of persons who would be there to get registered. uh during the commitment in 1964, efforts were made to really get as many people as possible to stand in line at the courthouse uh, to uh, get access to the Board of Registrars Office, however, in the run of a day's time, out of three or 500 people standing in line around the courthouse you'd have about 25 would get into the Board of Registrars Office uh, during that particular day. And out of the 25 that would get in, to fill out applications, only about uh, two or three might receive their registration certificate. Uh, you would have to undergo written uh, written tests as well as an oral test. The oral test comprised of questions relating to the Constitution of the State of Alabama. And of course uh, at some time it would get uh, quite uh, obnoxious, uh, dubious questions um, like how many bubbles in a bar of soap. It got to a point of being ridiculous and you felt that really when you finished that your application would be thrown in the trashcan as soon as you walked out the door. So really it was a matter of resisting to try to dramatize uh and to get people to understand there were people who were being denied the right to vote in Selma, Dallas County who really wanted the right to vote and who were willing to pay the price to get that right.