Interview with Richard Valeriani
QUESTION 15
INTERVIEWER:

I'M GOING TO SKIP TO THE END OF THE SELMA MOVEMENT, YOU KNOW THE MARCH IS DONE AND THERE THEY ARE AT THE STEPS TO THE CAPITOL, AND I'M WONDERING, AS A REPORTER, WHO HAD SORT OF GONE ALL THE WAY, COVERING ALL THE MOVEMENTS. AT THAT POINT DID YOU HAVE A SENSE, I MEAN WERE YOU HEARING RUMBLINGS THAT THE MOVEMENT WOULD SORT OF NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN AFTER SELMA?

Richard Valeriani:

No, I never, at the end of the Selma march, nobody knew what direction it would take after that. When I had gone through, as I say I had gone through Albany, Georgia, and gone through Birmingham then seen it go, move on to Selma. I figured that once you got the voting rights act they would move into, another area because Martin Luther King kept saying in effect we have dealt with desegregation, now we have to move on to the more difficult aspects, that is integration and the economic aspect of all of this. But at the same time he was becoming preoccupied with Vietnam, which I at the time thought was a mistake for him. The first time that I had a sense that things were really changing dramatically and that the movement had changed for all time, was on the Meredith march to Mississippi when suddenly we heard black power and we saw Stokely Carmichael and the SNCC kids changing and wanting something differing and starting to think and call, really openly call Dr. King a Tom and those kinds of names. Um, at that point it seemed to me certainly that the movement had changed irrevocably and that it was going to be different from then on.