Interview with William Simmons
QUESTION 41
INTERVIEWER:

UM, NOW YOU'RE, YOU'RE SOMEONE WHO'S FROM THE STATE, YOU'RE EDUCATED, YOU'RE NOT THE STEREOTYPE OF, THAT'S BEEN PROMOTED ABOUT THE SOUTH. UM, A CONSERVATIVE PROFESSIONAL PERSON. WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD THAT PEOPLE WERE COMING INTO THE STATE EXPRESSLY TO CHANGE THINGS SOCIALLY AND POLITICAL, WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THESE CIVIL RIGHTS WORKERS? THIS IS IN THAT SUMMER WHEN THERE WAS YOU KNOW, THOUSANDS COMING IN.

William Simmons:

When the civil rights workers invaded the state in the summer of 1964 to change us presumably into their own image, they were met with a feeling of some curiosity, but mostly resentment. Uh, they fanned out across the state, uh, made a great to do, of breaking up our customs, of flaunting uh, social practices that had been respected by people here over the years. That was the time of the hippies just coming in, many had on hippy uniforms and conducted themselves in hippy ways. They were not exactly the types of models that most people that I knew wanted to emulate. Also the, the arrogance that they showed in wanting to reform a whole state in the way they thought it should be, created resentment.** So, to say they were not warmly received and welcomed is, is, perhaps an understatement.