Junius W. Williams oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Newark, New Jersey, 2011-07-20.
Now, that was fortuitous because in South Carolina - by that nightfall, we were in South Carolina. And a guy named Fred Aronow was driving the car, and he was apparently - because the rest of us were asleep - he must have kind of fallen asleep at the wheel and he was going over the highway. And a cop stopped him. So, the five whites stayed in the middle of the car, wherever they were, and the two of us who were black got in the backseat underneath some clothes and hid, because we did not want to be seen in, and we did not want to be caught in an integrated car. So, Fred, who was quick on his feet, told the cop we were on our way to Florida for the Spring Break Fling that they had down there every year, where thousands of white kids get together, get drunk, get laid, and go on back to school. So, he took a look at Fred, said, “Be careful! You look like you’re a little sleepy, but go ahead!”
Now, later on, we heard that other integrated cars got stopped, and they never made it to the March because they were arrested on some trumped-up charge in places like South Carolina or wherever we had to go. So, but for Fred’s quickness afoot, you know, saying, you know - he certainly could have said, “Well, we’re on our way to the March,” you know, self-righteous. No, we’re on our way to Port, Fort - what is it? Fort Lauderdale, where they have these things, you know, these Spring Flings? So, we got away. And we went on down.
Later on, we had an accident. This big semi-trailer truck plows into my father’s car - I was driving at that point - just caved in the front fender against the wheel. We were in one lane, he was in another lane, and he just turned right into us. So, we had to - the filling station was right there, the gas station was right there. We pulled [1:05:00] into it as much as we could, but the bumper was on the wheel. You couldn’t drive. So, I don’t know why this guy - I mean, the guy, these young guys in the, uh, in the gas station didn’t seem to mind that this was an integrated group. He didn’t care where we were going. He just fixed the car. He just pulled it off. We got some gas and got the hell on out of there, because it was in some little town in Georgia.
So, we kept going and finally got to Montgomery. They had told us to check in with the SNCC office before going to Selma, because you want to find out if the Klan had been operating along Route Whatever-that-was at that particular time. They were always operating, but you wanted to find out if there was a heightened watch on that. [Clears throat] And, uh, we went upstairs on the second floor, corner of Jackson and High Street in Montgomery, which is where the SNCC office was, and there were various SNCC operatives there. I don’t know who they were, who they all were.
The only one I recognized was Stokely Carmichael. And he said, “What the hell are you going to Selma for? We need you here in Montgomery.” And then he explained that we were doing a, they were doing a parallel operation because they didn’t trust King and SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference]: “We don’t want to get sold out on this voter rights.” So, they were running a separate operation in Montgomery.