Interview with Mayor Joseph Smitherman
QUESTION 22
INTERVIEWER:

YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU HAD TALKED TO KATZENBACH, DID YOU HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH ANYBODY ELSE IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AT THAT TIME?

Mayor Joseph Smitherman:

Baker had most of them, uh, Wilson Baker. John Doar was in here from the Justice Department, and uh, mine mainly was with the uh Governor's office because you know, it was, you didn't want to fool with any Federal people you know because everybody accuse you of a secret meeting and this sort of a thing. And uh, we've had Congressmen that come in, all would do their politics here, black Congressmen, come from Detroit, Conyers I think he was from New York uh, all of those would come in here and try to get publicity and uh, we'd have crazy things happen, we became the march capitol of the world. Kids would come in, students to get their spurs in Selma, I remember I had a phone call from University of Minnesota and some young girl said, we're coming to your city tomorrow, I don't know what I told her really, I didn't care for it, but they chartered an airplane brought a group of students to Montgomery Airport, landed rented a bus, came over here marched two hours, got in the bus went back caught the plane back and, I find today in dealing with Federal Agents many of them with prominent jobs marched here in Selma, that's part of their portfolio, that uh, I remember dealing with an Under Secretary of HUD, later on we went on to Federal Programs, I said you know uh, back then you wouldn't take the Federal dollar and we had so many things that needed to be done. Today all of our streets are paved, all the houses have collection line sewage, and things of this sort. We got, we figured, it's our tax dollar, let's go after it and use the name Selma.