Interview with Richard Valeriani
QUESTION 9
INTERVIEWER:

SPEAKING ABOUT VIOLENCE ON PRESS PEOPLE, I'M WONDERING ABOUT HOW PEOPLE IN THE MEDIA POOL LIKE YOURSELF, IF THEY DID, DEVISED STRATEGIES TO SORT OF PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THIS VIOLENCE?

Richard Valeriani:

It was a cardinal rule never to travel alone. Generally we traveled with 2 or 3 cars, you would never get caught by yourself, you would never be out in a lonely area, by yourself, you really kind of uh, exercised pact journalism where possible. Some cameramen packed guns, in their um glove compartments, figured they weren't never, they were never gonna be caught in a helpless situation, But even off duty, sometimes you'd go into a restaurant or something, we used to go to a place where you could get a drink in Selma, it was an after hours, not an after hours club, but a private club which had good food and you could get some, you could get drinks there and a photographer from Life Magazine, I think his name was Norris MacNamara, went in the men's room one night and came out with a bloody nose and a black eye, some guy had seen that he was a, a reporter from out of town, a photographer from out of town and started beating him up. So you had to be careful all the time. And generally you tried to stay pretty close to people like the police even though they didn't like you, they had to protect you. I remember going to Philadelphia, Mississippi once and being really scared there because the, the hostility was almost palpable in a place like that. You could almost feel it, grab it and uh, I remember thinking watching some of the, um, the blacks go up and with Martin Luther King and a couple of uh northern labor leaders confront the whites in Philadelphia and thinking I was terrified for myself, thinking how do they do that? And uh, I once asked uh, Martin Luther King about that and he said you just sort of, once you realize what the worst is that can happen to you, you kind of excise the fear. But I was afraid for him.

FILM PRODUCTION TEAM:

[Ok that was a Camera rollout on 587. We're going to 588. Ok we're going to Camera Roll 587. 588.]