Interview with Calvin Taylor
QUESTION 8
PAUL STECKLER:

How do you deal with a question like that? How do you answer that?

CALVIN TAYLOR:

It wasn't unexpected. I mean, you, you, you have to look at the tone, the setting, the atmosphere at that time. We were being painted by, um, everyone concerned. Ah, when I say everyone concerned I'm talking about both, what they call quote "the responsible White media", the quote "responsible Black leadership." We were being painted as people who were nothing but extortionists. I mean, we were terrorists is what they would have called us you know, today, in, in 1988. Um, as I s--As I said, we were not afraid of violence. We were not even afraid of discussing it as a means to achieve an end. Um, it was being advocated by most of the, as I said, national Black quote "militant" leaders at the time. Ah, but when you think, when, when I think of us, the Invaders, in all honesty, we were left with no choice. When you seek to come to a table to reason with men, uh, regarding problems that face a community which you are a part of and you're actually met with "Get out of the room." You know. "You don't know what you're talking about", or "you're not old enough to understand," or "you have not paid your dues." You have to, you don't have to but you will do something to be recognized. Ah. I don't think violence was ever a choice of the Invaders. I think the Invaders were left with no choice but violence. We could not be heard. We, no one wanted to hear us. But we would not be silenced. And that, and that was a problem. Um. So to be blamed for the march, for the violence on the march, was just part of that we knew that we would get blamed for everything anyway. I mean, whatever went wrong. Ah, it would have to go--surely to goodness no one, no, no reputable minister representing calm was going to say, "We did violence." White community knew they didn't do it so it had to be the Invaders, you know. Um. But as I said, I think it's just, it was just, it was just one of those situations in which the mood, the atmosphere, the frustrations and all of that was just ripe for violence, you know. Ah. I won't kid you now. I mean, we did discuss the fact that you know, people should be prepared. I mean, um, everyone knows that if you carry a placard and it ha--it ha--it's been carried on a pole that you have a pretty good instrument for, um, doing some kind of physical damage to something. So you know, we weren't, we weren't, we weren't innocent but I don't think that, I don't think that the responsibility in terms of we planned it, you know, a conspiracy or we put it together and you know, we, i-it was not a military operation is what I'm trying to say. You know. We, we didn't decided in advance to this point. No. Not, in that sense, no, we didn't do it.

PAUL STECKLER:

That's fine.