Interview with Mayor Joseph Smitherman
QUESTION 5
INTERVIEWER:

OK, NOW YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH BLACK PEOPLE. [unintelligible]WHY DID YOU BRING WILSON BAKER BACK?

Mayor Joseph Smitherman:

Well, in order to win the election for mayor, I had to have support from various groups and while I probably was closer to Jim Clark in those days, uh, cause he was the sheriff and had beaten Baker who was the Police Captain, the former Police Chief when I ran for mayor had walked the streets against me, I had to have a new Police Chief, it was part of my campaign pledge, Baker was well qualified and he wanted to come back and Clark was afraid of Baker come back, he would run against him and Baker gave him his assurances he would not run. And uh, so I tried to make it up with Clark, but it didn't work. And things, got, such a resistance built between the civil rights people split ‘em up and between the city and the county and so much politics, that finally at one time Clark was going to run for Governor. And he told me he was going to run for Governor so that released Baker of his pledge not to run against him.