Interview with Mayor Joseph Smitherman
QUESTION 16
INTERVIEWER:

I'M CURIOUS ABOUT SOMETHING, UM, JUST A COUPLE OF YEARS BEFORE ALL THIS HAPPENED IN UH SELMA, THERE WAS OF COURSE ALL THE DEMONSTRATIONS IN BIRMINGHAM, THE EXAMPLE OF BULL CONNOR UM, THERE WAS ALBANY, GEORGIA WITH LAURIE PRITCHETT, DIDN'T THESE THINGS COME INTO THE THINKING WHEN YOU WERE IN THE MIDST OF ALL THIS?

Mayor Joseph Smitherman:

Well, you would tend to tune ‘em out. Uh, best I can remember. You, in retrospect you knew they were wrong and even then you knew it was wrong but then what would always you would rationalize why were they pushing this for and why were they trying to, uh, tear up the society with uh coming on this strong with demonstrations and things like this, why didn't these outside agitators leave us alone to work out our own problems. Well that was generally the attitude and course we knew it was wrong to shoot fire hoses and turn dogs loose uh, or whatever, we never did that here, but that was in Birmingham, but we all share the blame, I mean you know, I can't sit here because in my, I'm in my 6th term, 4-year term full-time Mayor's office. Uh, in my 4th term I got 70% of the black vote and I carried the white boxes too, not by that percent, but enough. My 4th, 5th term I got 80% of the black vote, cause…