Interview with James E. Smith

So tell me about this, about Dr. King and the march.


Dr. King came to Memphis to lead a march and in that march it had thousands of people. And as we marched from Clayborn Temple to Main Street, well, when we got on Beale Street, it, the march broke up because folks started breaking up windows and all of that. But then, when we got to Gayoso and Main, we decided to get Dr. King out of there. Reverend Leland Brown and, and I took him to, to Front Street and Gayoso and stopped a Black lady and her baby. And we put Dr. King in the car and she said, "I will gladly take you to the Rivermont Hotel," and, and she did. But lo and behold, we didn't get in the car. I don't know why we didn't get in that car with the Dr. King. We walked toward Clayborn Temple and the policeman jumped on us, maced us, beat us, beat the devil out of us. And I don't know today why I didn't get in that car. I wish I had.