Interview with David J. Vann
QUESTION 8
INTERVIEWER:

NOW, PART OF THAT REVOLUTION, OF COURSE WAS GOING TO MOVE TOWARD, TRYING TO UH SET UP THAT NEW GOVERNMENT WHICH WOULD CHANGE THE UM, THE OFFICIALS…

David J. Vann:

That's right. When, uh, when we got the petition, there then had to be an election to decide what kind of government the city would have and if the people voted to change the government, it would change it immediately. The, as soon as you elected the new government, Bull Connor would cease to be the Police Commissioner, the other Commissioners would cease to be officials and the Mayor and nine Councilmen would take over the operation of the government of the City of Birmingham. And uh, although Mr. Connor ran for Mayor under the new form of gov…

FILM PRODUCTION TEAM:

SIDE TWO

David J. Vann:

And, uh, although Mr. Connor ran for Mayor under the new form of government after the people voted for it, uh he was defeated by Albert Boutwell, former Lieutenant Governor of the state, a conservative figure but a moderate and, and very great gentleman. And, uh, I remember the day we swore the new government in, and here's the new day starting the commission immediately announced they'd been elected for four years and wouldn't leave office. And then that afternoon, Dr. King announced that he has decided to go forward with racial demonstrations in Birmingham. So, in a single day we instituted a new government, the old government refused to leave and Dr. King and the SCLC began the Birmingham Marches. Uh, and the marches occurred almost entirely during the 37 day period when Birmingham had two governments,** and I mean it literally had two governments. If you went to see the Mayor, the secretary would say, which one? And Mayor Hanes was in one corner and Mayor Boutwell in the other. On Tuesdays, the Commission met** at 9 o'clock and proceeded to govern the city and when they finished, they would march out and 9 Council members would march in and they would proceed to adopt laws and spend money and conduct the affairs of the city.** So you have in City Hall today, there are two sets of minutes, there are two governments