Interview with Paul N. Ylvisaker

What happens when America hears the words "Black Power"?


A chill sets in. There is now going, there is a threat. I mean, by this time I think Watts had happened, Harlem had happened, and there was a sudden chill that here we, a whole population is now going to rise up against us. And, you could feel that. It was, it came in different forms, but a kind of a feeling, would it, could it only be that Martin Luther King's ideals and the way he went about it in a non-violent way would be the answer. When it looked like it was going to be hostility, polarization, and violence, people got really frightened. Now, we're not, we also ought to talk about the people who were cheek by jowl with the Black populations in the cities, where the Black population was growing, where it was moving into other ethnic neighborhoods. The wealthier people had already escaped to the suburbs, and again, you had that confrontation of those who hadn't made it or those who had barely made it. So that was a different level of, of fear, it meant that maybe your neighborhood would be destroyed or be taken over, or whatever, but that fear was a very gut fear, the other was more of a general apprehension.