Interview with Andrew Young
QUESTION 3
PAUL STECKLER:

ANDREW YOUNG:

Mm hmm.

PAUL STECKLER:

ANDREW YOUNG:

Mm hmm.

PAUL STECKLER:

ANDREW YOUNG:

Yea, well before I was sent to New York, he called a group of us together here in Atlanta. And, it was Bayard Rustin, and James Bevel, and Ralph Abernathy, Jose Williams, I don't think Jesse had joined us yet, and we were talking about being involved and the board had met and made an appeal to him not to get personally involved, certainly not to merge the Peace Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. And Martin decided that he couldn't segregate his conscience, and that whether he merged the movement and led demonstrations or not, it was important for him to identify with the Peace Movement. His reading led him to that conclusion. One time, during '66, we worked in Cleveland helping to get Carl Stokes elected, and he shared a plane ride with Dr. Spock, and Dr. Spock had a long conversation with him about how important his voice and his leadership would be to the Peace Movement. So all of this was going on, and Martin asked me to go to New York because Cora Weiss had invited him to be a part of the spring mobilization. I went, and coming from the South, where we had a disciplined, very specifically non-violent movement in the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, the secular, leftist, radical, you know, approaches of the people in the spring mob. really shocked me. I, I thought it was a bunch of crazies for the most part. I mean, people were, were just so uptight, high-strung, bitter, I, I wasn't familiar with that. We didn't, we weren't that way in the South. And, so I, I came back saying that, you know, he couldn't be a part of that movement as it was. He said he'd made a commitment. So, I said, "Well, you won't even get a chance to make a statement there. People will be carrying Vietnam flags, they'll be wanting to pit you against Stokely Carmichael, and more than the issues, it will turn into a leadership struggle. You have to make your position clear somewhere." And I suggested that we call John Bennett, the president of Union Seminary, to invite Martin to speak at Union Seminary to a group of theological students on the war in Vietnam where he would have a chance to fully develop - in, in a mass-meeting speech, you get five minutes - he needed an hour, hour and a half to explain to the American people why he held those views. And so, Dr. Bennett agreed to work with us. Well there was so much interest in it, we moved it from Riverside Ch--I mean from Union Seminary across the street to Riverside Church. And Henry Steele Commager and Rabbi Abraham Heschel, who had marched with us in Selma, and Dr. John Bennet, the President of Union Theological Seminary agreed to comment on his speech.

PAUL STECKLER: