Interview with Rev. Andrew Young
QUESTION 9
INTERVIEWER:

TO FOLLOW UP WITH SNCC, JUST A QUICK RESPONSE TO YOUR ROLE AS A MEDIATOR BETWEEN SNCC AND SCLC.

Rev. Andrew Young:

Well, I think that I ended up being a kind of mediator, because there was a certain hostility to preachers, and I, though I was a preacher, and got along well with the preachers, I was a Congregational preacher that had a lot more free attitude toward life, than say, most Baptist preachers. And it—there was a slight, there was a little less—I mean, Martin and Ralph were about four or five years older, and the difference between twenty and twenty-five is a lot different than the difference between twenty and thirty. And so I was sort of halfway—right now there's no difference. You know, at fifty-five and fifty, there's no difference, but from twenty to thirty, five years could make a big difference. And so, I would still hang out with them a little at night, and most of the student planning was done in late-night bull sessions. And so, it was mainly a matter of contact, and being available. And I was just available, to both sides. But I… really do think that most of the tensions came about on slow newsdays, when um, the press didn't have anything else to write about, so they would—they would write about the difference. The differences though were very slight. Well, I remember Willie Ricks who's now still around Atlanta, but Willie Ricks always wanted confrontation, ah, and confrontation always got a lot of folk hurt. We frankly tried to minimize confrontation. We were much more patient and would count more on the day-by-day marches, even if nothing happened, ah, because it was the day-by-day marches that slowly built up an awareness in people, ah, and you didn't have to provoke a crisis everyday. The purpose of the marches was to maintain the boycott, and it was the boycott—the boycott would require, you know, at least thirty days before its effect would be felt. It didn't matter, you… you couldn't make a boycott work any quicker than thirty days. And most of the time it took sixty to ninety days, and so we were… we were much more patient, ah, about social change. I think there was a tendency on the part of a lot of students in SNCC to make a commitment that they were going to come south for one semester, or one summer, and they wanted to see all of the changes in the world come that summer. We were almost as naïve. I felt like it would take five years, ah, but it turned out that it's a lifetime struggle, and you move from one phase to the other. And people who couldn't make that adjustment and who couldn't change with the different phases, I think ended up rather frustrated.

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

[unintelligible background conversation]. TAKE FOUR HEAD SLATE IS UP. CAMERA ROLL 503. CONTINUATION OF ANDREW YOUNG. TONE.