Moses Moon Civil Rights Recordings 1963-1964: Selma, AL; September/October, 1963(OTN53)
Web Video Text Tracks Format (WebVTT)
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Dick Gregory: And it made big, strong people out you baby. Big, strong people out of us. And it got you ready for this big job.
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Dick Gregory: So all you can do now, if you don't want it, stand over there with the white folks and march against us.
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Brother Gildersleeve: And if you do march it- want it, march with us, but we got to have you out here in the street now. Because when you don't come out you lead them to believe that you didn't want it.
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Dick Gregory: So if you gon' make him feel you didn't want it, then get with him. I would rather see a negro when I come to Selma, Alabama marchin' with the white police, if they're not gonna march with me because it's one thing, I don't mind dying, but I'd hate to die askin' "Where was my folks, man?".
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Dick Gregory: Either be here on my side or be in front of me. Just let me see ya. Let me see ya! Where was my folks? That's all. I hate to ask, "Were you there when they crucified the boss?"
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Dick Gregory: That's a nice song to sing now but you have opportunities this time. I don't know what song is gonna come out of this one. It's gon' have some.
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Dick Gregory: It sure would be a heck of a thing when they start singing em when you, grand kids and great grand kids can stand up and sing [laughter]. Ya he was there baby.
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Dick Gregory: He was there and 20 years from now and 30 years from now, people gon' be askin' you "Where were you?".
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Dick Gregory: I'd like to tell you this story and then leave.
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Dick Gregory: I talked to one of the fathers.
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Dick Gregory: One of the kids that was in that church in Birmingham, had lost their life and that's a frightening story. Half of the stuff I read never did get out.
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Dick Gregory: There's a woman upstairs, been upstairs in the operating room for two hours praying to God that they could save her daughter's eyesight,
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Dick Gregory: and after the operation was over the doctor told her he did the best he could and she said "Thank God" only to turn around and find out they'd been looking for her for two hours to tell her about her dead daughter.
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Dick Gregory: I talked to a gentleman, he'd lost his daughter and you know the thing that seemed to have moved him the most?
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Dick Gregory: He said 'Gregory, this girl of mine begged me to let him demonstrate and I told her no'.
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Dick Gregory: That wasn't the thing that bothered him, he told her she was too young and she looked at him and said 'then you do it daddy.'
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Dick Gregory: That's what he got to live with for the rest of his life.
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Dick Gregory: Cause had Birmingham had enough negros behind them, there wouldn't have been no bodies.
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Dick Gregory: Two hundred and fifty thousand negros and all team could get was two thousand and fifteen hundred everyday. Mmhm That's not enough. That's not enough.
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Dick Gregory: All I say, if you're not for me, get over there with them. At least being with em, you know when their fixing to blow up my church, you might come slip back to tell me.
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Dick Gregory: Or if I see you not coming to church I know something goin' to happen and I can stay out of it myself.
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Dick Gregory: This is what it's coming to. If you want to be on the winning team, get on this one. This one's going all the way.
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Dick Gregory: That's why this man is scared. All at once he realized that I'm not dealing with a dog.
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Dick Gregory: A dog he throwing meat. All at once he was dealing with a man and they make tear gas for men they do-- that's what they make tear gas for-- for men.
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Dick Gregory: The sheriff have never gone out and got him a posse for something he knew he couldn't handle.
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Dick Gregory: And they never been able to get a posse this large, cos he dealing with truth and when his boy's finished grabbing him, there still gonna be something overflowing but the truth ain't nothing but god.
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Dick Gregory: So here's the problem we have, just thank god we got strong enough people that can deal with them.
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Dick Gregory: And we strong? Two hundred and fifty thousand negros in Birmingham, had the leaders decided on giving me two thousand negros to demonstrate,
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Dick Gregory: and you are the two hundred and forty eight thousand stay at home and at twelve o'clock suddenly turn all your water on and flush your toilet. The firemen's wouldn't have no pressure for the hoses.
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Dick Gregory: That is nothing but pure strength and raw naked power. Twenty-two million negros in America,
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Dick Gregory: and the United States has the greatest postal system the world have ever known,
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Dick Gregory: and if every negro decided we gonna start a letter writing campaign, and on any given day drop ten letters first class. For every negro in America that would be ten times twenty-two million letters.
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Dick Gregory: And the mailboxes the same day we have just paralyzed the greatest postal system the world has ever known. And if you put the wrong address on it you've paralyzed it twice. For the same nickel.
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Brother Gildersleeve: That's strength and that's power. This is what we're dealing with today. These are the problems we have. These are your problems. These are everyone's problems. And when you walk across that line and commit, you drag ten of those white people across that line with you 'cause there's a whole lotsa white folks that go but they haven't missed you outta their kitchen. And they love you. They afraid of you because they know how good and Godly you are. And the days you don't show up, that would be the day they might be the day they might get religion.
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Brother Gildersleeve: 'Cause they say if you know you got some negroes down south making a white man jump off the Empire State Building if you asked him to. Yeah, you've raised him. You've loved him. You've made him what he is. And all he's doin' is sitting there seeing what Aunt Sulu gonna do. She didn't show up today. Ohhh maybe they right 'cause he ain't never known you to be wrong.
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Brother Gildersleeve: Yup, I think y'all did a wonderful job on feeding us. Getting us strong. But all these kids are trying to tell you now is "momma, we take freedom over food". We take freedom over food because we sick and tired of y'all raisin' all these milk-fed janitors. We sick and tired of y'all raisin' these homegrown, no politicians 'cause they won't let us run. We saying "momma, get away from the pot because you making us strong for nothing".
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Speaker 1: Come home one day, and if you got anything in that pot put some freedom in there.
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Speaker 1: And say we're gon' march. We're gon' march, and check on your kids and find out what do they do for freedom, before you lay a couple of that good stuff on them. Start putting some march juices on.
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Speaker 1: Jail ain't going to hurt nobody. Them white folks wouldn't hurt one of them negroes in there for nothing in the world, baby, because he knows how right that is.
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Speaker 1: Them negroes in jail got more white folks watching them all over this world than you have sitting out here, and you supposed to be freer than they are tonight.
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Speaker 1: Don't you know the one's the white folks hate are the ones they locked up in jail in a heart beat would blow up a church before he blow up on them jails with us in it?
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Speaker 1: Cos he knows he getting fewer right over there in that jail. You don't know what he getting when he blowin' up jails. That a sick day in hell where a man would blow up a church before he blow up a jail and know we in there.
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Speaker 1: You know how white people in Selma just broke into jails and taking anybody out, anybody they want. Had a man just when was it 49 a man just killed a negro when he in jail.
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Speaker 1: You remember that story? Do ya. Killed him dead gave [?] nobody know too much about it. You know what I'm talking about?
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Speaker 1: In jail he was walking in killed him. So they been doing that, but they not doing [?] Because all this man want to do is [?] for a few minutes, he know he can't kill him.
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Speaker 1: Know he can't kill him. And everybody in there's coming out. So when you have to go to jail go. Go. Take your [?] and you polio and wrap [?] if you have to. Go on in there.
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Speaker 1: Go on in there. You get more FBI agents over there probably can't sleep while you all in jail here. Do you know that?
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Speaker 1: People calling in every five minutes, tell them what's happening. How else you going to get the president's brother to have your name on his desk. I tell you go to jail, your name be on his desk in the morning.
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Dick Gregory: but assists she hadn't impressed nobody down here but these white folks here. You haven't impressed the world because they look down and don't see nothing but kids. Nothing but kids.
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Dick Gregory: Whitey's going around town saying 'them oh them negroes happy, they just got some devilish kids they can't control.'
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Dick Gregory: And you know what I wonder? When you think about these ids going to jail and you have your reasons for not going. If this town busted open tomorrow morning and a white man walked up and said we want to make you the first negro detective. Would you take it?
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Dick Gregory: Or would you use the same excuses with him you're using now? Would you take it?
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Dick Gregory: These kids get through going to jail and taking on all this talk and they walk up to you and say 'we want to make you the first negro woman salesman'. would you take it or would you tell em you don't qualify because you didn't get out there and get your head worked?
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Dick Gregory: These kids aren't doing anything for themselves, freedom will run all over this town. If they wanted to keep if for themselves they couldn't.
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Dick Gregory: Nothing selfish about what they doing for you, but you got to get behind them, because too many of them white folks in front of them.
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Dick Gregory: When a man looks back and sees something behind him, he don't feel like running because he hasn't got no place to run. Only to his mother back there and it might hurt her. Get behind your kids in this town will you? Please. God bless you. Goodnight.
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James Forman: Just a moment we want everybody to keep a seat. We're going to be dismissing rather soon.
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James Forman: I'm sure that that Dick Gregory has made us all think tonight. But I'm just not sure you see if we have thought too much about him.
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James Forman: What he went through to come down to tell us these words. Here's a man that's been in more jails than most of us in this place. For freedom.
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James Forman: Now we have an obligation and the way we're gonna to get behind these kids is to get down there Monday. And I'll tell you, the kids are telling me if the parents are not down there Monday, they gonna empty the jails pretty soon. I mean, empty the schools pretty soon.
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James Forman: Now last night we asked people to make telephone calls. I wanna know how many in here made five telephone calls to get people down for Monday?
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James Forman: Alright, how many were at this mass meeting last night that are here tonight? Be honest with yourself.
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James Forman: Alright, not, about 10 hands were raised that made telephone calls today. How many people in here with telephones? Be honest.
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James Forman: Alright, now I want the kids to keep their hands down. All adults with telephones in here, raise their hands.
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James Forman: Alright, now we gonna make assignments. Just keep your hands up, keep your hands up. Now if you can't hold your hands up for five minutes for freedom, you don't want it.
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James Forman: Alright, you take the page A in your phonebook and go home and call every negro on A. You know-- if you don't know the negroes, if you look and see a woman's name without a "Mrs." behind it, that's a negro because they don't put "Mrs." in there.
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James Forman: Alright, someone get a pencil and a paper. Get a, get a sheet of paper to take that lady's name down-- she's got all the A's.
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James Forman: Alright, take her name down-- she's got every A. Alright, hold your hands up-- all the adults. Alright. You got B.
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James Forman: You got B alright?
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James Forman: People that's gonna take these assignments.
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James Forman: Just step over there so we can get your names. You, step over here.
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James Forman: Don't want anybody to move! Young lady take a seat!
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James Forman: We got to work now, just take a seat. You take B. Raise up these hands!
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James Forman: Young lady, say you, you can go to the Elk's Club later. Now let's sit down here and uh lets sit down now and go to the Elk's Club later.
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James Forman: Lock those doors out there, lock the doors! Nobody's getting out of here until we get this business straight.
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James Forman: Close those doors.
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James Forman: Alright, next hand. Let's raise a hand, all the women with the phones. Alright you take C.
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James Forman: Come on over here so they can get your name. So they can get your name and your telephone number. Alright uh brother you take D!
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James Forman: No, lemme see no let that lady there take D. Come on over here ma'am, yes ma'am in the fourth row so they can get your name and address.
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James Forman: Keep the hands raised, alright, you take E come on over. You take F, and you take G, step over there so they can get your name and your phone number.
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James Forman: Oh, we're gonna get some, we're gonna get to everybody. Where did we stop off at F? You got F?
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James Forman: Yes ma'am, you with the black, you got G then, with the black dress.
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James Forman: Lady behind her take H. Just step on over there so they can get your names and addresses.
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James Forman: Alright uh, brother, you take I, come on over here. Yeah, lets go we got you separately.
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James Forman: Alright, brother, you take J, come on over here so they can get your name and your phone number.
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James Forman: Alright, come on up here K and the young lady, the lady in the red take K and the one next to her take H, I, J, K, L.
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James Forman: It's been so long. Yeah.
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[Audience member [[inaudible]]
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James Forman: Pardon me? No I don't mean you ma'am, I was talking to the little lady over there. That's alright, we can call them again! That's alright, I know that! Some people in here have been calling from N to S n' A to N.
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James Forman: We gonna double check, see the more people that call them the better off we'll be. Alright.
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James Forman: Come on down sister in the blue, take M. Come on down here, take N. Fellow back there, come on down. Mister, you come on down and take O.
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James Forman: You take P, come on down. Get your name and your address, take P. Come on down, you got O fellow.
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James Forman: Alright, now all the other people with phones raise your hands now! Alright, I want some adults.
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James Forman: You take R cause there's not many Q's, take Q and R. The lady in the white there, let's stay still now we've gotta do some work.
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James Forman: Alright, you take S. Give them your name and address over there. Alright, T, come on down brother.
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James Forman: Now we need somebody for WXYZ or W and then Y - 'Cause it's not too many, No..You ma'am, c'mon, you can do something, yes ma'am, yes ma'am, W.
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James Forman: Want somebody else for Y. One more person for Y, yes ma'am, come on down and give em' your name and address.
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James Forman: That's alright, we don't need anybody for Z. It's not too many Zs, come on down. Negroes don't have Zs in their names.
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James Forman: That's, that's what I'm sayin'. I'm gonna do that too. But I wanna get there specifically. I wanna make sure that we have some people that we can call to have responsibility. Now see? I think it's a shame.
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James Forman: Alright, just let's have it quiet, please. Now I'm tellin' you now, we not out here bustin' our guts for nothin', excuse the expression. But now we got to have some people down at that courthouse Monday morning.
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James Forman: Because you know, we out at these mass meetings, we applauding these children and we singing these songs but we have got to be down at that courthouse Monday Morning.
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James Forman: Now let's just have it quiet and do that quietly. Now everybody else who has assignment I understand Reverend, Mr.Doyle and Reverend Reese has made assignments for people to call from "A" to "M" and from "N" to "Z". Now those people go ahead with those assignments.
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James Forman: And call them 'cause we not going to catch them all at home at one time and more than that it's not going to hurt for people to be called twice. Now as I say, you know every woman, every negro woman 'cause they don't have "Mrs." behind her name.
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James Forman: And all these people know Selma and you know that negro neighborhood. Now in addition to that, you children, go home! Go home, how many kids got phones? Raise your hands.
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James Forman: Alright now, the kids go home, and tomorrow afternoon, get on the phone and say, you know, tell the person, now I'm calling you.
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James Forman: Just take as many as you can, you know. Alright, raise your hands. I'll tell you what we do..how many, this side a'here, everybody over here, take from "A" to "N".
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James Forman: The children in here now take from "M" to "Z". And call them and say, you know, tell them, "the children have been going to jail for the right to vote. And we want you to go down and be at the courthouse Monday morning." Isn't anybody out here, in here from Orrville or Bogue Chitto?
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James Forman: Where are you from brother? Where you from? Raise up, come on man, don't be ashamed of where you live. Come on.
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James Forman: Well anyway, tell him to get the word out there. Now it's alright, just a minute, please. Lemme have your attention now, [[claps]] it's alright, it's alright, it's alright to hear these speeches.
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James Forman: You know, we got to do some work, and if we, you see Mr. Gregory has come down in vain if we're not down there Monday morning.
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James Forman: These children have gone to jail in vain and not only that we gonna make ourselves the adults. Lemme have it quiet, please. [[claps]]
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James Forman: The adults-, can I have it quiet? The white folks gonna say that the negros in this county don't want the vote.
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James Forman: Now lemme tell you why they're gonna to say, do you remember that first mass meeting?
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James Forman: The white citizen's council had an ad and said that the white citizen's council had stopped the first mass meeting because only 350 negros came out after the leaders had worked 60 days to get the mass meeting. Now that's what they said, now you gonna let Reverend Reese, Mr. Doyle, Ms. Boyintin, yourself, and everybody else in Selma down if we don't have at least 500 people down there Monday.
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James Forman: Now we can have that many people down at that courthouse, see. Children gonna be down there after 3:30 after school is out because they have the right to see the courthouse too.
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James Forman: But you adults gotta be there in the morning and this is a serious matter now! I mean there is no plaything, you've got to make up in your mind what you're gonna do Monday morning.
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James Forman: See a lot of people raised their hands last night about they're gonna be down at that courthouse Monday.
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James Forman: It's a serious matter. Now the other thing is that we're on the threshold of a great victory here in Selma.
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James Forman: Lemme tell you why, I talked to John Doyle today at the United States Justice Department who argued that case and there's more in that case than what was reported in that newspaper too.
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James Forman: And we're gonna get a copy of it and print up everything in terms of the benefits. The one thing that they have to do you see, is that every oral question that they ask you has to be written down.
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James Forman: And every answer that you give has to be written down. Not only that, they can't ask you any oral questions unless it pertains to state or Federal law.
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James Forman: Now that means your name, your age, where you live, a you know, can you read or write, and so forth.
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James Forman: In addition, to that, if you omit a question or something like that because you don't understand it, it's not proof that you are not qualified to register to vote.
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James Forman: But the greatest thing is this; is that the registrar has to tell you why you have not been registered so that you know they can't do that stuff anymore about people going down 12 times in a row and every time they go down there the registrar never tells them why they failed the test.
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James Forman: Now the burden of proof is upon us at this moment. The government has the case and it's up to us to get down there.
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James Forman: I mean is that clear people? I don't know if, you know I mean, I don't know if you really understand what we're trying to say. What these people in the Dallas county voter leagues have been trying to say.
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James Forman: And why Mr. Gregory is here and why his wife went to jail for 7 days? She left her two children that's something no adult has done here in Dallas county except for maybe one man.
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James Forman: Here's a woman left her two babies to come down and stay in our jail for 7 days to bring pressure on the government to get us our rights. That's what has happened to his wife.
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So I know were're tired. I know you're tired. I'm not fussing with you. I want to get make these announcements here. I'm not fussing with you, anything like that. I'm just trying to impress upon you the seriousness of the situation. Because if we don't get to vote here in Dallas County, after all of what the government has done, after all of what our children have done, then maybe we don't need it. And if we don't get it here then you can forget about your brothers and sisters in Wilcox County, Lawrence County, Marengo, Hale, Sumter, Green and all over Mississippi. And we have a chance in the 1964 election and in the next city election to get rid of Jim Crock and get rid of all the rest of these segregationists. And we can get a voting referee in here if we go down in large enough numbers. We can force them to open up those books more than two days a month. If there are five hundred people down there they know, we know they can't take five hundred people. We know that. But they're not going to put you in jail on registration day, so throw that thought out of your mind. But if we have five hundred people down there then that shows to the world, that shows to the government that the Negro in Selma wants to register. So there will force and open up those roles and put on more registrars. Now, that's up to us. The choice is up to you, it's up to us. And that's why we try and organize. And those of you that got those assignments, make those calls. Now the children all day today went to these vast projects, telling people about the meeting and about registering. All day. Negro children did that. Now if they can do that we can go to our churches in the morning. I'm sure that every church in Selma is represented here. And we go there, we tell that woman that gets up to make the announcements, to make the announcement about coming down. Now if we don't have guts enough to go in a Negro church, a church that where we belong, and tell the pastor, "I want you to make an announcement about Freedom Day, register to vote" then we're not ready to vote. We still got too much fear in us. So we all ought to be in church tomorrow so we can make these announcements.
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James Forman: Now there's going to be a mass meeting at Tabernacle Baptist Church on Monday at eight o'clock, and tomorrow night there will be this clinic at Northern Heights Presbyterian Church.
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Speaker 1: It's a voting clinic where we're gonna go over the form, but even if you don't come to the clinic, which you should. Get your neighbors down there Monday morning.
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Speaker 1: Now we can. Some of us gonna have to take off a half a day and some of us going to have to take off a day. But we got to get down there.
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James Forman: See we got to get down there cos the white man has said if I let you register the first and third Monday then the negro gon' be so drunk after the weekend he ain't gon' wanna come down. That's what he saying.
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James Forman: And he said we make it from 9 to 5 he gonna be so busy working during that time he ain't going to get down there so we got to make it- we got to prove to him he's a liar.
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James Forman: Brother Gildersleeve wants to say something to you. I hate, I would hate to say that-that, well I won't say that. Let us just be there Monday morning.
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James Forman: Cos it's very, very important. Bring some baloney sandwiches with you. You know cos we want to be there all day. If necessary. My Brother Gildersleeve.
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Brother Gildersleeve: This is a very important announcement I just left Birmingham I was at a Democratic Conference there and they asked me to make a report on Selma and I thought we were moving on.
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Brother Gildersleeve: We had a large number planning to go down Monday morning. To register to vote and I hope you won't let me down, I've committed myself and I told them that this county was on the move.
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Brother Gildersleeve: Are we?
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Brother Gildersleeve: Yeah, and now let me-let me, if we on the mover now let me see your hands everybody who planning to go down on Monday?
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Brother Gildersleeve: That's good, and this- That's good. Now another point, announcement. Now listen to this very carefully. Listen now.
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Brother Gildersleeve: The state is bringing something for us the first of the year and I was told to tell you about this. And this gon' make you take a test for, equivalent to high school and we don't, we gonna have to vote on it. We not qualified to vote against this thing it's gonna pass, and that's gon' set us back [inaudible] but it will take us back several years, if not knocked down it will pass if we don't become registered voters before that time before it pass. Everybody have to be on their high school ready level in order to pass, this test before they vote.
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It's very [[??]] gon be sure to emphasise this and you see most of the white people already qualified to vote anyway. So if we don't get out and get qualified then that will set us back many more years.
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Brother Gildersleeve: [[??]] years already been set back. Now this is very serious.
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After Mr. [[??]] coming all the way from Chicago, down here to [[??]] and [[??]] like Mr. Foreman and others.
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We ought to show some [[??]] in ourselves and not let somebody else show more interest in us than we have in our own selves and [[??]] our own children.
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Now if you don't go down there and raise the vote, what you actually saying,
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I don't want to have any better jobs. I want the white man to have 'em.
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Unknown Speaker: Yes.
Brother Gildersleeve: And I don't want my children to have a better education.
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When you vote, you see, you can vote for the man gon' get these things for us.
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And I want you to please keep that in mind.
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I'm pleading with you. And I have been [[??]] for two weeks.
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Now, if you let me down, I gon' feel like being your [[??]] for two more weeks.
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Brother Gildersleeve: Ah, he elected me and my [[?]] voter league and I want you to support me. I don't like to play I like to work and I'm pleading with you.
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Brother Gildersleeve: Will you please be down there? I'm going to be down there myself to see if you're down there.
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Brother Gildersleeve: I was born in little Marengo County but I was a qualified voter. I transferred here I had to get a letter from my judge. And, uh now if I was not born and reared here and I was transferred here. Since I been here, now why can't those who've been living here all the time, how come you can't get qualified to become a registered voter.
00:31:35.000 --> 00:31:44.000
Brother Gildersleeve: My wife and I both qualified for it and we just came here and not been here too long. What about you folks who've been here all the time?
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Brother Gildersleeve: The man talked about throwing me out. I laughed in his face. I told him that "it wasn't that bad alright, but I wasn't about to leave and didn't leave till he qualified."
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Brother Gildersleeve: I kept tryin' to turn around ready to stay as I was sittin' there lookin' at them, but that didn't make and difference [?] if I ain't qualified,
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Brother Gildersleeve: and I'm lookin' for you to be there, I'm pleading, I'm really serious. Now that's all I'm gonna say. I don't know who's gonna take this, who's in charge?
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[[people singing hymn]]
Speaker 3: We thank you for the impossible [?]. Dear God, with ask you to stick with us, stand by us, to help us to realize the importance registering to vote.
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Speaker 3: Help us to realize the importance of freedom, realize that there's a need for sacrifice. Dear God, help us. Stand by us.
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Speaker 3: Heavenly father we thank thee for all the blessings, we thank thee for the son that you gave to us to die for our sins. To those you have given to us to die in the churches, who gave their lives for freedom, dear god help us to continue to move on. These blessing we ask you Jesus in vain, amen.
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[people singing] [audience talking in background]
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