Interview with Hollis Watkins
QUESTION 5
INTERVIEWER:

OK, THIS—DESCRIBE FOR ME, THAT MARCH AND BEING ARRESTED AND GOING TO JAIL AND END BY TELLING ME ABOUT THAT, THAT THREAT AND HOW THAT REPRESENTED THE, THE DANGERS OF GOING INTO JAILS.

Hollis Watkins:

The march took place after uh, Brandan Travis, Ike Lewis and Bobby Tabber [Robert Talbert] were not allowed to go back into the public school there in Macomb. Because of that, the students walked out. Once we got to the office, someone said well why don't we go down to the court house and pray on the courthouse steps. And that's what we did, we marched downtown went to the courthouse and attempted to pray on the steps one by one, but each time someone stepped on the steps they were arrested for about the fourth or fifth person then everybody that was in the march was just herded into the jail, arrested and, and in the process then there were people like Bob Zellner who was one of the ones that was attacked and beaten at that time. Others that was arrested were people like Curtis Hayes, uh, myself, Brandan Travis again and Ike again. And while in the jail we were brought out one by one and interrogated. At the time when they brought me to the top of the stairs to interrgogate-interrogate me they didn't carry me the way other people had said that they had carried them. They carried me to a separate room, and in the room they had a lot of men with dirty clothes that surrounded me and demanded that I say "yes sir," and "no sir" to them. Finally after making sentences out of my questions to keep from doing that, they put me in another room by myself instead of returning me to the room where all the other people had been returned after interrogating. A few minutes later the doors opened and two men in plain clothes walked through with a hanging rope in their hand, that had the noose tied in it, with a little red rag tied just below the noose and said, "OK nigger," he said, "Get up." He said, "We're gonna have a hanging here tonight and you're gonna be first." Knowing that I didn't want to be hanged, not knowing what to do I just sat in my chair and leaned back and smiled, you know I just kind of gave a smile at them, and they looked me dead in the eye as I looked them in the eye and they stopped shortly they walked out the door.