Interview with Andrew Young

Why did the SCLC go along with the participation of the Deacons for Defense on the march?


The SCLC was aggressively non-violent, but Martin made distinctions between non-violence, defensive violence, and retaliatory violence. And he was far more understanding of defensive violence. I remember in Georgia a Black man was being intimidated because the people who owned his place were flirting with his wife and he wouldn't let his wife go out with this man and they came by to, to shoot him. He jumped out the back window and blasted the front of the shot--you know, blasted them off his porch with the shotgun. And Martin's attitude was , "You can never fault a man for protecting his home and his wife," and we saw the Deacons as defending their home and their wives and children. Now Martin said he would never himself resort to violence even in self-defense, but he would not demand that of others. That was a religious commitment into which one had to grow.