Junius W. Williams oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Newark, New Jersey, 2011-07-20.
He jumped up - this was the most brave thing I’ve ever seen - he jumped up and stopped us, because we were supposed to be nonviolent. He reminded us, “This was nonviolence. We can’t do that.” That cop would probably have been severely hurt that day. And then, it would have been a whole different kind of situation, because they would have brought in all the police power in the state and would have snuffed us out, because then we would have been terrorists instead of nonviolent protesters. And he was smart enough to do - so, I’ll always remember him for that. And he was on one leg, because he couldn’t move that other leg. And he stopped that crowd: “You can’t do it.” And so, we all backed off. The cop jumped up, got that big heavy motorcycle, zzzrrmm, and drove on back to where he came from. [1:15:00]
Now, how did I get arrested? Several times we tried to march, and each time they drove us back. At one point, King came over, because the march had already started. Somebody told King, “This thing’s getting out of hand, and you better go to Montgomery,” because now more and more press was coming, more and more media was coming. Uh, so he came over, and amazingly the doors opened, and we could go - when I say “the doors,” I mean the barricades were removed, and we marched. But he only marched us for about two blocks, and then he turned us back around, and we went back toward the barricades. And during that time the cops were throwing peanuts at us, with this grin on their face, as though they knew what was going on, this thing had been planned. This was supposed to take the edge off our desire to march. But, of course, people weren’t going to be satisfied with that. We were young people. We weren’t going to be satisfied with that.
Uh, so that same day or the next day, the SNCC organizers led us through the backdoor, so to speak, because they hadn’t, didn’t have cops down at the other end of the avenue. We went out the back way very quickly, went around the side of Alabama State University, went in the school, emptied the school, singing freedom songs - emptied - everybody in that school came. Some professors tried to stop the kids. Some of them just stood aside and smiled. By that time, we had doubled in size, and now it was a mostly black group, as opposed to integrated heavily with whites. Now it was mostly black, with all of the energy that conveys, young black men and women. So, then we went back to march again. They clubbed us, as we were trying to go downtown.
And at one point, this young man’s - at one point, this young woman was run over by one of the horses. So, there was a guy near me who picked up a brick. I found out later that was his sister, not just his, his, uh, his “sister,” in terms of, uh, being a fellow black person, but his real biological sister. Uh, he had a brick. And so, I jumped on his back. I told him, “You can’t do that. You’re gonna be killed. We’re gonna be killed if you throw that brick.” He ran with me for about a block, a block. This guy was about a linebacker size, and I was about a hundred and forty pounds. But I’m talking to him all the time. And he put the brick down, came to his senses, and turned around. The young lady got up, and she was unhurt.