Interview with Rev. Andrew Young
QUESTION 25
INTERVIEWER:

[unintelligible background conversation]. MALCOLM X'S VISIT TO SELMA.

Rev. Andrew Young:

Malcolm X's visit to Selma was one that we were rather nervous about, because we didn't know how the press was going to play it. I had known Malcolm, and Malcolm always visited SCLC's offices when he came to Atlanta, and so there was nothing that we really feared about Malcolm X's visit. It was just that, for the press to play off violence against nonviolence, at a time when we were struggling to make sure that people remained committed to a kind of disciplined nonviolence, made us a little nervous. But I think, it provided a good news item, that kept a certain amount of interest in the movement, and made a very positive contribution. You saw, though, the difference between the North and the South in Malcolm. I mean Malcolm was electrifying to northern audiences. But it was almost as though the people in Selma, ah, didn't relate very much to what he was saying at all. And there was, I think one of the things that we were aware of… I mean we were sensitive about, ah, was that ah, in fact we… to protect ourselves against that, we sort of put him up in between, I think, ah, I don't remember who introduced him. But we arranged for James Bevel and ah, Reverend Shuttlesworth to speak after Malcolm, just in case he said anything that was ah, a problem, ah, that they would have a chance before people went out in the streets to… to correct it. But Malcolm was not a southern style preacher. And he didn't know the language of the rural south. And ah many of the people there, see, didn't really even know who he was. He could have been a Congressman, he could have been a—I mean Selma was a pretty remote and isolated place in 1965.