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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Marion Wright, March 8, 1978. Interview B-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The SRC kept itself out of direct action

The SRC kept itself out of direct action protest, Wright recalls. He believes that staying off the streets helped preserve the Council's credibility.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Marion Wright, March 8, 1978. Interview B-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACQUELYN HALL:
We were talking about some of the changes in strategy and policies the Council developed. In 1960 when the sit-ins started, when the direct action movement started, what role do you feel that the Council played in the direct action movement?
MARION WRIGHT:
It did not participate in direct action, with my knowledge. It could be possible that . . .
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there a conscious policy that members of the Council should not participate in . . .
MARION WRIGHT:
Yes, that's true. We had, I hope, established the reputation for being trustworthy in the field of research. And it certainly struck me, and I think the rest of us, that if you get out and parade and carry flags and that sort of thing, people will develop some lack of confidence in the idea that that kind of person or that kind of an organization should also produce material that one should take seriously. In other words, when you're on a street, your partisanship is in everybody's face. You wouldn't have much faith in the research of a man who was admittedly a partisan on that issue. So I think we were wise to keep in the cloister—I don't say closet—and maintain public respect. And I don't think anyone ever quite doubted the accuracy of the research we did and news releases we issued.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there any conflict over that issue? Were there people who thought that the Council should be more directly involved, or who wanted to be more directly . . .
MARION WRIGHT:
That bobbed up every now and then, but it never was made an issue, particularly.