Interview with Andrew Young

After the tear gassing in Canton, when you're coming into Canton and you've had that terrible experience with the police chasing people off tear-gassing, Dr. King reportedly said that the federal government had to give him a victory if he was going to be able to keep the movement non-violent. Did the government abandon the movement and if you can, if you made that statement, can you incorporate that statement into the answer?


Yes, the government did abandon the movement and Martin felt that unless non-violence could achieve victories, it was going to end up with people turning more and more toward violence. The Canton tear gassing was one of the most difficult things we had experienced up to that time. We were simply stopping on a school-ground and police surrounded a group of mostly women and children and just started shooting tear-gas. I was up on the top of a truck trying to give instructions, "Run against the wind, don't run with the wind. Cover your faces with handkerchiefs." And all of a sudden the tear-gas came up and caught me, and I jumped from the top of the truck and it was a combination of tear-gas and nausea gas and I was retching and running and all of the instructions I gave to everybody else I completely forgot myself. I was running with the wind, into the more and more tear-gas. And the only thing I remember was that there was a preacher up in front of me and we hit a six-foot wick wire fence around the school and he must have been about 50, and he and I both cleared that fence. And I think that was one of the few times in the movement that I really got mad. And the anger was at myself because that was the first time I'd ever lost control. But it was also anger at Mississippi troopers for tear gassing women and children who were simply standing around singing hymns and preparing to camp there for the night.


Can we stop for a second, just for--