Interview with Calvin Taylor
QUESTION 9
PAUL STECKLER:

Martin Luther King was walking in. Describe what happened.

CALVIN TAYLOR:

I never seen anyone look so gentle as Martin Luther King. Um, he came out, he didn't really say very much--I mean it wasn't as if he came out and said, "Hello, how are you?" or any of that. He and Cab knew each other so they kind of spoke, um, you know in terms of, "It's been a while since I've seen you," or something like that, and, um, I remember Cab walking to the balcony window, John and I were seated on a couch, actually facing his bedroom door as he came out. I've never seen this man in person, so I'm thinking that he's going to look like what the TV media made him look like. And I guess that's why I, I, I was stunned really, because Martin Luther King speaks and it's very charismatic, it's powerful, so I'm expecting someone to come out who has a very powerful sense about themselves, right, and you get just the opposite. Martin Luther King was a gentle person, a very sincere person. He wasn't, it wasn't an act, it was just the way he was, as I remember it. And, um, he did, in very soft-spoken tones, he asked us, "Why did you disrupt the march, and break up the march, allow the violence to happen on the march?" or something like that, and none of us, um, I mean, heretofore we'd been dealing with ministers who were angry with us and White people who have no respect for us, so it's very easy to react to them, and to go, you know, "You're a liar," whatever the case may be, but you're standing here looking at this man who's exuding nothing but sincerity and who's saying that this cause is a lot deeper than Blacks and Whites getting along; it's brotherhood, it's man to man; it's God and the reason for creation and that kind of thing. Um, and you can't sit there and say that you didn't do it and expect him to believe you because you can't even say it well enough for him to believe you. And I remember when he asked a question, Cab, I guess, disappeared out of the balcony window. Um, I of course turned my head to look in the opposite direction, which was the door which we had come in. And as to what John was doing, I have no idea. He was probably holding his head down between his legs, but we never really answered the question. It was like we were waiting for Cab who knew the man personally, who was the spokesman for the group, to say something. He never said anything. We never said anything. Um, I think eventually we got around to just simply talking about what happened and why it happened and that's when we could carry on, you know, a conversation. But as far as answering his question, I think we never answered it, so, and I, and I think it had to do not with, not with wanting to be dishonest or not with wanting to seem dishonest or anything. It just seemed to be that whatever answer you gave would not be sufficient for a man who had dedicated his life to something he truly believed in, I mean, you know, I mean I've always felt like the other people who were around at that time, um, and maybe even us to some extent, did things out of expediency's sake. We felt like, you know, it was going to be good for everyone if, you know, Blacks moved up higher in society and this kind of thing, but with Martin it was not just a moving up level economically for Blacks, it was a lifting up of all mankind and brotherhood, you know, so, I don't know, I don't know how you put that together.