Interview with David J. Vann
QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

OKAY, DAVID, UH, WHEN JOHN SAYS OK WHY DON'T YOU JUST GO AHEAD AND LOOK AT THE CAMERA…

David J. Vann:

Well, when the Freedom Riders came into Birmingham and Bull Connor withdrew police protection, and allowed them to be beat up, and the police came in three minutes they just let them have enough time, but they not only beat up Freedom Riders, they beat up Clancy Lake, a local radio newsman, they uh, took a camera away from the Post-Herald photographer, opened and exposed the film, uh, and both newspapers came out with front page editorials, "Where were the Police" uh, the picture that ran internationally was actually a picture that the Klansmen thought they had destroyed when they opened the camera, but it had already been rolled into the cartridge. And when that picture ran, it came out of Birmingham, by a Birmingham photographer, uh, and it ran on the front page of newspapers around the world. In fact, uh there were a group of Birmingham businessmen from the Rotary Club uh, were in Tokyo, Japan, at an International Rotary Convention and that picture ran on the front page of Tokyo newspapers. And one of the gentlemen that was there in Tokyo was Sidney Smeyer who was the incoming president of the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce. And that picture as much as anything else, I believe, convinced him that something had to be changed. That the business community when they had supported Bull Connor for election they really hadn't intended for him to do things like the allowing things like the bus station to have, to occur.** And so when he got back to the United States, he formed a committee made up of