Interview with James E. Smith

Okay, last thing, I want you to think back to the night before Dr. King, the night that Dr. King comes back the last time and he's speaking at the Mason Temple and gave the mountaintop speech. What do you remember? How did it sound? What was the night like? How did it feel? What were you thinking?


Raining that night. Dr. King was in town and we were all excited about that. We were excited because he was a great man, coming to Memphis to aid and assist thirteen hundred sanitation workers. But it was pouring down rain. And uh, and I got to Clevela--got to uh, Mason Temple. There was not many folks there at that time. But I got there early because I wanted to make sure I got me a good seat. And by the time that Ralph Abernathy got there the place was really packed. It was raining. Ah, uh, s--thundering and lightning outside. And, but nobody was worried about the rain. Everybody was just excited because Dr. King was in town and he was coming to speak. That was a night that--that's the night that I knew that everything was going to be all right for those workers and that we were going to win.