UGA Libraries Logo

Interview with Willie Bolden, October 7, 2009

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:07 - Interview introduction

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I’m Bob Short. This is Reflections on Georgia Politics sponsored by Young Harris College and the University of Georgia Library.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Short introduces Willie Bolden.

00:00:38 - Early life / First involvement in Civil Rights Movement

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You were born in South Carolina but made your way to Atlanta through Savannah.

Segment Synopsis: Bolden talks about his early life in South Carolina and Savannah, Ga. He shares the story of how he met Martin Luther King in a pool room. Bolden mentions how he became involved in the SCLC after hearing Dr. King speak in a church.

Keywords: Ben Clark; Ft Stewart; Hosea Williams; Hunter Air Force Base; Juanita Williams; Martin Luther King Jr; Tomochichi; hotel; marines; pool hall

00:07:50 - Recruitment into the SCLC

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Now, how I met Dr. King. I met Dr. King in a pool room.

00:18:30 - First experience in the SCLC

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What was your first experience in the movement after you joined SCLC?

Segment Synopsis: Bolden talks about his first assignments when he first joined the SCLC. He also talks about his time in Albany, Ga and the work he did in voter registration for the African American community in the city.

Keywords: Albany, Ga; Andrew Young; CB King; Martin Luther King; SCLC; voter registration

00:24:07 - Work in Social Circle, Georgia

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So what happened after Albany?

Segment Synopsis: Bolden talks about how he helped two female teachers get their jobs back after being wrongfully fired for an interracial friendship. He recounts the even of Dr King's assassination while he was stationed in Social Circle.

Keywords: SCLC National Convention; Social Circle; assassination

00:29:23 - School integration in Pike County

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But Social Circle was quite a movement

Segment Synopsis: Bolden also talks about his work in Pike County where he helped Dr Glover get his job back on the Atlanta Board of Education.

Keywords: Dr Glover; Pike County; board of education; canning company; integration; march; organization

00:36:11 - Marks, Mississippi / Poor People Campaign

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Then later I was assigned to Marks, Mississippi.

Segment Synopsis: Bolden talks about the extreme poverty found in Marks, Mississippi. Bolden also talks about how he was the "wagon master' in the Poor People's Campaign.

Keywords: I-20; Lester Maddox; Marks, Mississippi; Poor People's campaign; Rawhide; mule train; poverty; wagon; wagon master

00:44:44 - Integration in St. Augustine, Florida

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And then later on I was assigned to St. Augustine, Florida.

Segment Synopsis: Bolden reflects on his experience in integrating the motels, hotels, and restaurants in St. Augustine, Florida. He mentions the several beatings they went through at the hand of the Klan. Bolden states the significance of the events in Florida because of the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill.

Keywords: Civil Rights Bill; Ku Klux Klan; Lyndon B Johnson; beach; beatings; hotels; integration; motels; restaurants

00:48:33 - Marion, Alabama / Voter registration

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Marion, Alabama, the night Jimmy Lee Jackson got killed, Dr. King was supposed to go to Marion, Alabama that night because we had just found out that James Orange was arrested and beaten in Marion, Alabama.

Segment Synopsis: Bolden recalls the violent even at Marion, Alabama where Jimmy Lee Jackson was killed. Bolden recounts the event when the sheriff stuffed a loaded gun in his mouth and threatened to pull the trigger. Bolden also talks about the SCOPE program where white college students would assist African Americans in voter registration.

Keywords: Alabama; James Orange; Jimmy Lee Jackson; SCOPE; Selma, Alabama; Summer Community Organization for Political Education; Voters Rights Act; violence; voter registration

00:56:58 - Bloody Sunday / Marches in Mississippi

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So please tell us what happened on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday?

Segment Synopsis: Bolden recounts the details of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. He mentioned how the events on that day helped the passage of the 1965 Voter's Right Act. Bolden also talks about the marches he participated in in Mississippi.

Keywords: Bloody Sunday; Edmund Pettus Bridge; Grenada; Ku Klux Klan; Montgomery, Alabama; Mound Bayou; Selma, Alabama; march; sheriff; voter registration

01:05:05 - Reflections on the Civil Rights Movement

Play segment

Partial Transcript: If you were asked what future generation should know about the Civil Rights Movement, particularly during the 60's and 70's, what would you say?

Segment Synopsis: Bolden shares his opinions on what the future generations should know about the Civil Rights Movement. He mentions how all that they accomplished came at a heavy price, and he encourages young people to become involved with something.

Keywords: Civil Rights Movement; Dr Abernathy; Dr King; James Orange; John Lewis; Julian Bond; Leon Hall; Lester Hankerson; education

01:10:23 - Current issues in the African American community / Closing reflections

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What do you think are the most important issues facing African Americans today?

Segment Synopsis: Bolden talks about the current issues in the African American community. He also talks about the SCLC now. Bolden mentions how his heroes are Martin Luther King, his mother, and his father.

Keywords: Al Sharpton; Jesse Jackson; Martin Luther King; National Urban League; SCLC; black community; education; family matters; health