Interview with C. T. Vivian
QUESTION 41
INTERVIEWER:

O.K., I'M READY WHEN YOU ARE. O.K., I'M GOING TO BACK UP JUST A TINY BIT LIKE WHEN THE KIDS, THE STUDENTS FIRST GET ARRESTED UH, TWO THREE SENTENCES, WHAT ABOUT THE WHOLE THING ABOUT GOING TO JAIL? I MEAN, THESE ARE KIDS FROM GOOD HOMES, THEY'RE NOT, YOU KNOW, IT'S A TREMENDOUS STTGMA AND DANGER TO BE TN JAIL. WHAT WAS TITE REACTION OF THE, FIRST THE STUDENTS BEING JAILED FOR THE FIRST TTME, AND THEN THEIR PARENTS?

C. T. Vivian:

In fact uh, uh, uh jail was quite a different thing for everyone. Uh, the idea of going to jail was itself uh, uh, difficult for many people to handle, for had it not always been used as the way to stop people from doing anything, and uh, but we'd already interpreted—you see—jail as quite a different experience. Instead of being a stigma, it became a badge of courage. Uh, it became, uh, the means whereby that you could be liberated and free, or that one had to pass through the jails uh, into a promised land, that the society had to be turned upside down, to be turned right side up, the new definition. Now, parents, of course, of these students, everywhere, had different reactions. Uh, uh, many of the parents were afraid uh, many of the parents, uh, thought that their children's lives would be destroyed forever because of what would be on their record uh, many telephone calls were coming from everywhere uh, pressure was on, on the colleges, in particular, on, on the presidents, and the vice-presidents and staff and et cetera. Uh, there was pressure everywhere. Uh, but students made up their minds what they were going to do. It was a great point of their own development and decision-making for their lives. Now once we began to win that, all the parents were really happy and thankful that their children were involved. Now a few children were taken out of school and brought home, there's no doubt about that either, but that was such a small group.