Interview with Andrew Young

SCLC was close to John Lewis. When he lost out to Stokely Carmichael as the national chairman of SNCC how did Dr. King and SCLC feel about where SNCC was headed?


Well I don't think that SCLC had any concerns because we were not, we knew John Lewis and liked him and respect him, respected him, but we also knew Stokely, and knew Stokely as a very bright and aggressive kid from the North, and our main concern was that he was not comfortable enough in the South, and on the Meredith March for instance, Stokely freaked out. I mean he just went berserk, not in violence but, I mean, the tear gas just got him. And at the time he became the head of SNCC, we were just beginning to realize the impact of the assassination of Jonathan Daniels on Stokely Carmichael. Psychologically it's a terrible thing to be with two people and both of them get gunned down and you not touched. Jonathan Daniels was, went to get Stokely Carmichael out of jail, no, it was Father Morrisroe went to get Stokely and Jonathan Daniels out of jail in Lowndes County, and when they came out, Father Morrisroe was shot and Jonathan Daniels was killed, and Stokely was left there filled with bitterness and, and I'd say a legitimate hatred. That would begin to work on him at similar kinds of times. So that a, a year or so later in Canton, Mississippi when we were tear-gassed, he lost control temporarily. And so it was those kinds of things that bothered us. But Martin and Stokely never lost friendship even in the days when there was the battle in the press of them being pitted against each other. Whenever Stokely came to Atlanta, he made a point of going to Ebenezer to church to hear Martin preach. And Martin and Coretta made a point of inviting him home to dinner, and it was not only a means of trying to keep the movement together, but he saw Stokely as a young man with tremendous potential and ability. And Black Power itself was something Martin disagreed with tactically. In fact, what he said all the time was, "Jews have power, but if you ever accuse them of power, they deny it. Catholics have power, but they always deny it. In a pluralistic society, to have real power you have to deny it. And if you go around claiming power, the whole society turns on you and crushes you." And it was not Black Power that he was against, it was the slogan "Black Power" because he said, "If you really have power you don't need a slogan."


Lets cut it there for a second.