Eyes on the Prize One Interviews
Washington University Digital Gateway Texts
Interview with Mary Jane Jackson

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Interviewer: Carroll Blue
Production Team: A
Interview Date: October 19, 1988

Camera Rolls: 1015
Sound Rolls: 107

Editorial Notes:


Interview with , conducted by Blackside, Inc. on October 19, 1988, for . Washington University Libraries, Film and Media Archive, Henry Hampton Collection. These transcripts contain material that did not appear in the final program. Only text appearing in bold italics was used in the final version of

QUESTION 1

CARROLL BLUE: Mrs. Jackson, I want you to tell me about registering to vote in Lowndes County.
MARY JANE JACKSON: Really.
CARROLL BLUE: Yes, ma'am.
MARY JANE JACKSON: They don't need me to tell you 'cause, it's a mess, well, it was worse than best in Lowndes County. Didn't want you to vote. No.
CARROLL BLUE: Why not?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Why not?
CARROLL BLUE: Yes, ma'am.
MARY JANE JACKSON: Because if they used Lowndes, they, they know. No, they didn't want you to vote. But we voted anyhow. Right there in Hayneville, where they started. And my husband said, some of the folk wanted to go home. He said, "You run now, you'll be running today and ten years. So I ain't gonna leave. Me and none of my folks." And we didn't leave. In Havyneville, that's the first place I went to vote.

QUESTION 2

CARROLL BLUE: What happened when you went down to vote? How were you treated?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Treated?
CARROLL BLUE: Yes, ma'am.
MARY JANE JACKSON: Treated like dogs. Talk to you, like you wasn't human. Howard, ah, and my husband that boost me up. He says, I'm going to vote, and you're going to vote, before I leave here, and both of us vote. Black folk was scared to vote. I was scared, but I didn't do, vote, unless he told me. He dead now. But a lot of folks left, and wouldn't vote.

QUESTION 3

CARROLL BLUE: Why were you not afraid to vote?
MARY JANE JACKSON: I wasn't scared of no White folks. I was scared of them. Because my husband told me to stay and vote. And I stayed on and voted. Always would do what he said.

QUESTION 4

CARROLL BLUE: Now they tell me that you went to mass, to big meetings, and that one time you had your gun in your purse.
MARY JANE JACKSON: I did. I carried it everywhere I went.

QUESTION 5

CARROLL BLUE: Tell me what happened at that meeting.
MARY JANE JACKSON: What you, what now, what meeting?
CARROLL BLUE: The one where you said that you'd take your gun out.
MARY JANE JACKSON: You talking about in Lowndesboro?
CARROLL BLUE: Yes, ma'am.
MARY JANE JACKSON: That was in Lowndesboro.
CARROLL BLUE: What happened.
MARY JANE JACKSON: Nothing.
CARROLL BLUE: You want to tell me about it.
MARY JANE JACKSON: What you want to know about it?
CARROLL BLUE: When you went to the meeting and you had your gun in your purse, what did you say?
MARY JANE JACKSON: What did I say? You don't want to hear what I say.
CARROLL BLUE: OK, let's stop for a minute.
CARROLL BLUE: OK, Miss Jackson, what happened?
MARY JANE JACKSON: That night. Didn't nothing happen to us, but other folks was very, different varieties. My husband, he got beat up. But we didn't. Because every one of us had us a gun. And I had mine in my lap. Me, John Jackson were together. He said, eh, to make one fire, said, let's make two. And I was ready to get him. But we didn't have to shoot. But I carried my husband's gun, I've got it right now.

QUESTION 6

CARROLL BLUE: So what did you say?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Huh?
CARROLL BLUE: What did you say when you had your gun in your lap?
MARY JANE JACKSON: You didn't hear me.
CARROLL BLUE: You going to tell me?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Huh?
CARROLL BLUE: You're going to tell me? Let me ask you this. When you and John would go out to where you were born, you'd tell people about registering to vote. Can you tell me about that?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Didn't want to vote. Uh hah, they was scared to vote. I'd never have been scared to go. I never have. But I had John Jackson, me and him got together, I said, "Now, what's the heading? You want to go, I'll go with you." And I went with him. I went with him. He said, "You ain't scared?" "I, scared of what? I ain't scared of nothing. And I'll vote." Yeah, me and John Jackson. Were together.

QUESTION 7

CARROLL BLUE: What was it like for you to vote?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Huh?
CARROLL BLUE: What was it like for you to vote?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Who?
CARROLL BLUE: Your first time voting.
MARY JANE JACKSON: To what was I like?
CARROLL BLUE: What was it like for you to vote? How did you feel?
MARY JANE JACKSON: I felt all right. I felt all right. And I was --I felt all right.

QUESTION 8

CARROLL BLUE: Did you feel like you had done something important.
MARY JANE JACKSON: I knowed I had.

QUESTION 9

CARROLL BLUE: What did you do?
MARY JANE JACKSON: What did I do?
CARROLL BLUE: Yes, ma'am.
MARY JANE JACKSON: Well, I won't tell all of it. I won't tell what I say.
CARROLL BLUE: Mm-hmm?
MARY JANE JACKSON: I said some nasty things. Some of them here, some of them wouldn't hear it.
CARROLL BLUE: OK, then, hold off just a minute.

QUESTION 10

CARROLL BLUE: OK, you're telling me about Stokely, and Bob Mants and what happened.
MARY JANE JACKSON: Both of them was my best friends. Stokely, and Bob Mants. Stokely left me and I wished for him back, many times, many times. But when he left, he said, "I won't be back." But Bob Mants, he had, ah, he comes around. I talks with him.

QUESTION 11

CARROLL BLUE: What did Stokely and Bob Mants do to help you in Lowndes County?
MARY JANE JACKSON: What did they do? They made me a brave woman. That's what they done. Made me a brave woman. I was already brave with noone, but they made me tougher.

QUESTION 12

CARROLL BLUE: How did they do that?
MARY JANE JACKSON: By talking. They tells me what to say. 'Fore us got there. Yes sir.

QUESTION 13

CARROLL BLUE: What did they tell you?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Tell me don't dodge. Told me don't dodge.
CARROLL BLUE: I didn't hear you.
MARY JANE JACKSON: You done heard it.
CARROLL BLUE: Thank you. OK.

QUESTION 14

CARROLL BLUE: Miss Jackson, do you remember the Black Panther, and the Black Panther Party?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Black Panther.
CARROLL BLUE: Mm-hmm. You'd vote the Black Panther and then go home? Do you remember that? The Black Panther.
MARY JANE JACKSON: Black Panther. Whereabout?
CARROLL BLUE: In Lowndes County. Do you remember vote the Black Panther and then go home?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Did I go home?
CARROLL BLUE: Do you remember, vote the Black Panther and go home.
MARY JANE JACKSON: Huh-uh.
CARROLL BLUE: You don't?
MARY JANE JACKSON: No.

QUESTION 15

CARROLL BLUE: You remember the Independent Party that you all formed in Lowndes County? The party?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Party.
CARROLL BLUE: Yes, ma'am.
MARY JANE JACKSON: What about in Lowndes County.
CARROLL BLUE: The Black Panther Party in Lowndes County.
MARY JANE JACKSON: Do I remember?
CARROLL BLUE: Mm-hmm.
MARY JANE JACKSON: I remember everything was different in Lowndes County, hereabouts. What part of Lowndes County?

QUESTION 15

CARROLL BLUE: The Black Panther Party. No? Do you remember the state troopers coming to the mass meetings?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Yeah.
CARROLL BLUE: What happened?
MARY JANE JACKSON: Nothing.
CARROLL BLUE: Why not?
MARY JANE JACKSON: They was scared. They was. They didn't have, they, no, didn't have to us talk, but they was there.
CARROLL BLUE: OK, thank you. That's it.