Interview with Cleveland Sellers

The relationship between Stokely and, um, Martin Luther King.


Well, the, the relationship between Stokely and Martin was I think a very warm kind of relationship. Ah, we all knew that we had differences in terms of strategies and our tactics. I'll give you one example, that Martin believed in non-violence as a way of life. Ah, our concern about non-violence was only tactical. We used it when it became important for your survival to use non-violence. But we recognized that and we discussed those kinds of things and, ah, we could, we were able to resolve it. What happens in a lot of instances, is, is that the press began to use these differences even though they might have been completely minor to, ah, create rifts and try to break up the unity that existed within the, in the Civil Rights Movement. And I'm not saying that we didn't disagree tactically, organizationally, we did. But I think there was a personal, ah, relationship among SNCC people and SCLC people that was, that was very good and very healthy. Now, those relationships were strained at different times but we always managed to work our way through it. We had respect for some of the organizers. They had respect for many of our people based on our dedication and based on our commitment and based on our ability to go into those areas, those recalcitrant areas in Mississippi and fight for social justice and democracy for all.