Interview with Rev. Frederick Reese
QUESTION 6
INTERVIEWER:

LET ME JUST, SO I CAN BE REALLY CLEAR, HOW WAS IT THAT SOME PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF WERE ABLE TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE, I KNOW MRS BOYNTON HAD VOTED IN 30'S OR 40'S, OR WHATEVER, HOW, WHY WERE THERE A FEW BLACKS THAT COULD GET THE VOTE AND OTHERS, PRIMARILY WERE DENIED THAT RIGHT?

Rev. Frederick Reese:

At some point I think, it was an understood um, thing with the members of the Board of Registrars that in the city and county there were certain blacks who were chosen as um, persons who had great respect, who earned great respect by the white power structure. And those persons, um who be asked if they would recommend certain persons to receive their voter registration certificate. In others words, they had to recommend the persons who would be accepted. And this took place for quite some time uh, prior down to 1960 uh, that I was aware. And if a person did not recommend you, then you certainly would not get registered, uh, these were quote, uh the good black people who were making the recommendations. Now, I became registered uh, when I joined, uh, connected myself, connected myself rather, with the Dallas County Voters League. Uh, because of my resistance, I went up, uh, several times myself, uh, to file application and because of my, um participation in civil rights and so forth, uh, and my commitment then they felt that uh, they would certainly allow me the privilege of receive my registration certificate and I would just go home, and, and be quiet and be thankful. Uh, however, there were persons who were teachers who had masters degrees who had gone down 5 and 6 times and had not been registered. Uh, their applications were thrown in the wastebasket and uh, some did not get registered until after I really began to uh, wage a campaign for the right to vote for teachers. I was an instructor at R.B. Hudson High School at that time in 64, 65 and also President of the Selma City Teachers Association and I made a point to get teachers interested in going down, file an application to become registered voters. I asked the question, how can you teach and, teach citizenship, and you're not a first-class citizen yourself? So therefore, we waged that campaign and we were successful in getting many teachers the right to vote.