Interview with Mayor Joseph Smitherman
QUESTION 17
INTERVIEWER:

OKAY, I'M SURE ALL THAT'S TRUE, BUT THAT'S A LITTLE BIT OUT OF OUR TIME FRAME. I'M REALLY JUST TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT, IF YOU DIDN'T SIT DOWN WITH WILSON BAKER AND JIM CLARK AND SAY LOOK THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED IN ALBANY, GEORGIA, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED IN BIRMINGHAM, WE CAN CALM THIS THING DOWN IF EVERYBODY JUST STAYS COOL. CLARK, STAY COOL.

Mayor Joseph Smitherman:

Well, we offered concessions behind the scenes uh, that uh, we would start hiring more people and uh, all of these things. Paving streets and we needed time, we were always asking for time, but the blacks had solidified their leadership through Martin Luther King. People like the former City Councilman F.D. Reese, or Reverend Reese, and other pastors here, their leadership then was mainly preachers. And they solidified their leadership not to give in on anything, in fact, uh, you look back and see how much you learn from those leaders uh, even after the demonstrations they would come in after Dr. King left and they looked around and nothing had really happened, they had the right to vote, but um, it hadn't really accomplished anything at that time. They'd come in with 10 demands and you'd listen to them 3 hours and give them one. They'd come back the next month with 10 more and you'd give them one you'd look around a year later and say, hell they got all 10 of them, uh, and cause and so what we did in the 70s…