Interview with C. T. Vivian
QUESTION 44
INTERVIEWER:

O.K., WE, WE LEFT OFF WITH THE POLTCE BEING BROUGHT INTO THE SIT-IN THING. GIVE ME, STARTING FROM THAT POINT WHEN THE POLTCE GET INVOLVED IN THE SIT-TNS, WHICH IS AFTER ALL, A COUPLE WEEKS INTO THE THING, HOW DID THE POLICE REACT, AND THEN, HOW DID THE CTTY AND THE STORE OWNERS REACT TO THE SIT-INS?

C. T. Vivian:

Uh, the uh, uh, the police knew who they were working for. The police knew that they represented the city, they represented the merchants, they represented the thugs more than they represented us, yet uh—and here again is the importance of nonviolence—uh, is that uh, they were reached uh, they did not want to appear too demanding, too brutal, Uh, they wanted to stop us, but when we would not stop, then they had to begin to work on the thugs, because the thugs will bring out the worst of segregation in a racist society, that it even shames the people who are themselves racists and who keep the system going. And they were caught in that dilemma and they were waiting for their orders from the businessmen, the businessmen were caught, they did not quite know what to do. Uh, and they thought, however, that they could beat us down—if the police and the thugs both moved on us, things would change. Uh, the police left, the way the police did it was by being passive and allow us to be beaten, right? And then they would come in at the end and uh, push the others back and arrest us, all right? Uh, so that it was the victim being arrested. Uh, and they figured that would stop it, but that only intensified it, because the whole city could see, black and white, but uh, whites were passive, though they didn't like it. Uh, uh, blacks, on the other hand, were not passive at all, but very active in relationship to what was happening. As a result, they came to our support and the mass meetings grew larger and larger, the support became, more meaningful, more people came forward to mortgage their homes to pay for uh, uh, bail and, and et cetera.