Interview with Mayor Joseph Smitherman
QUESTION 20
INTERVIEWER:

BUT WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU HEARD ABOUT THAT, WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED THERE.

Mayor Joseph Smitherman:

What happened, I was not there, you know I would stay away, I was at City Hall, uh I didn't uh, I didn't understand how big it was until I saw it on television I was only about 3 blocks from it, but uh, and then you know, I didn't go out on the streets, I would stay on City Hall, cause I didn't want to be around uh, Dr. King, that was a political no-no and uh, but I was within 50 yards or 500 feet of everything and this instance 2½ blocks but see, we almost had a race riot that's the closest we come to violence in the city, they ran ‘em back over the bridge and then the city police did there share. And they ran into AMA Chapel and some of the posse members almost rode horses in there and even the city attorney who is deceased now, at that time who was a big supporter, naturally of mine and Jim Clark's and uh, it scared him and we probably would've had violence because you know that's, that's the sacredest part of anybody is their church, especially blacks but they almost rode horses, you know they got scared away in the AME Church and that's the closest, uh,