Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Walter McCall Oral History

Walter McCall – Oral History Project – Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center
Interviewed by Herbert Holmes

McCall:  My name is Walter R. McCall. I was born in Conway, South Carolina on August 23, 1923. I was taken to Marion, South Carolina as an infant; there I grew up around Marion….

In seminary we played pool sometimes until three o’clock in the morning.

Holmes: Have you participated in civil rights activities?

McCall: The first civil rights struggle that King had ever been in was with me. It was in Maple Shade, New Jersey, in 1950 I think. We went into a restaurant one night and to my amazement it was a discriminating type of place and the man refused to serve us.

The man shoved a 45 in my face while King and our guests were seated at the table. As a result of what took place, I brought a suit against the man. King and I served as our own defense. It was the first time that we had ever been in any kind of civil rights struggle.

The Attorney General for that section of New Jersey, Johnson, was a dear friend of mine. He provided counsel for us and we won our case in the preliminaries. Then it was taken to the Grand Jury. We couldn’t be our plaintiff and defendant at the same time. It just happened that the young white boys who were there and were to testify had brought pressure against them and they couldn’t appear. As a result, we just dropped the thing. I am sure that Ernie, who ran the place, was very happy as well.....

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