Interview with Wyatt Tee Walker
QUESTION 13
INTERVIEWER:

WHAT ABOUT THE LACK OF RESPONSE FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AT THAT TIME?

Wyatt Tee Walker:

We were very disappointed in the lack of response of the federal government. One of the sad things of this era is that the federal judges who were appointed by Democratic administrations were the chief stumbling blocks to the enforcement of constitutional law. And I think it was Judge Robert Elliot, in Albany, who issued the injunction. Here again, Dr. King was in a, in a dilemma, because in the history of this republic, our court of last resort had been the judicial branch of our federal government. We never got very much from the Congress. We couldn't depend on anything other than rhetoric from the administration, but if we could get our case before the Supreme Court there was a measure of justice that we could anticipate. Now here in this very difficult campaign, on one of the traditional questions of segregation that affected customs and mores, it was the federal judiciary that blocked us. And it was crucial because, in a campaign like ours which depends on mobilizing people, it was definitely a ploy to kill the morale of the movement and drain it of its momentum, while there was this so-called thirty or sixty day cooling off period, whatever it was at the time.