Interview with Arlie Schardt
QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

Describe your reaction to the Black Power speech at Greenwood.

ARLIE SCHARDT:

Greenwood was a, was a kind of milestone because it was there that, ah, although, although Stokely Carmichael had been, ah, ah, talking about Black Power from the very beginning of the march, ah, it was in Greenwood that it was really dramatized. He had worked there before as a civil rights worker. He knew all the police. The police all knew him. The officials all knew him. And, ah, that evening there was a rally in a big open field, kind of like a, if I remember right, it was kind of like big parking lot or maybe a playground, a dirt playground or something like that. And there was a, a flatbed truck set up and it was about dusk and hundreds and hundreds of local Blacks had gathered for the rally and then there was a sort of fringe of, of White people on the outside of it. And, ah, there were a number of speakers, ah, ah, who were, who were on the agenda that night, ah, Stokely and Willie Ricks of SNCC was another one and then, and then, ah, I believe--

INTERVIEWER:

I'm going to move you forward to when he's, he actually gave the speech. We don't need quite so much setup.

ARLIE SCHARDT:

Stokely gave a very, very fiery address that evening, ah, in which he basically told the group that they couldn't count on support or cooperation or help from the White man and that Blacks had to, had to do it on their own, that, ah, Blacks were being sent off to fight and die in Vietnam and yet they couldn't even vote. They had no rights at all in the communities where they lived and that they were going to have to gather their, their own courage and not, not worry about outside help and, and, ah, and he began, ah, leading the crowd in a chant for Black Power, ah, which of course many people began interpreting as a call for Black separatism and, ah, this was contrary to, to Dr. King's goal of integration and as a result--