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Shirley Ann Barnhart

As a child, she had a crush on the 19-year-old preacher in her church. He was known as M-L, but later he became Martin Luther King, Jr.


Other segments from the episode on January 19, 2004

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, January 19, 2004: Interview with Clayborne Carson; Interview with Shirley Barnhart; Interview with James Farmer.


DATE January 19, 2004 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A

Interview: Clayborne Carson discusses The King Papers Project, a
long-term project to edit and publish the papers of Martin
Luther King Jr., of which he is the founding director

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Around the country today, Americans are commemorating the 75th anniversary of
the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. My guest, Clayborne Carson, is the
founding director of The King Papers Project, a long-term project to edit and
publish the papers of Martin Luther King.

Under Carson's direction, four volumes have been published of a projected 14-
volume edition of King speeches, sermons, correspondences, publications and
unpublished writings. The project is based at Stanford University, where
Carson is a history professor. He was invited to direct the project by
Coretta Scott King in 1985. His other books include "In Struggle: SNCC and
the Black Awakening of the 1960s" and "Malcolm X: The FBI File."

Let's start with an excerpt of King's acceptance speech upon receiving the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

(Soundbite of Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, recorded December 10, 1964)

Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr.: I have the audacity to believe that peoples
everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture
for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I
believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can
build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of
God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and non-violent
redemptive good will proclaimed the rule of the land. "And the lion and the
lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and
fig tree and none shall be afraid." I still believe that we shall overcome.

GROSS: Martin Luther King, recorded December 10, 1964. That speech is
collected in the book "The Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of
Martin Luther King," one of the four volumes of King's work edited by
Clayborne Carson.

I asked Carson to reflect on something Dr. King had said or written that
seems particularly relevant today.

Professor CLAYBORNE CARSON (Founding Director, The King Papers Project):
Well, I think during the past year, obviously, the big issue has been war and
peace and the war in Iraq. And early in that year I began pulling together
King's statements on war and peace and during the course of the year we had a
couple of readings in which actors, Aldo Billingslea and Danny Glover, read a
script that I had written with King's statements about war and peace. And, of
course, I chose the ones that I felt would be most relevant to the issues
today. But it surprised me how much the audiences responded to King's words
and very quickly began to think of them not so much as coming from King
through an actor but as speaking to them with a great deal of wisdom and
foresight about how they should think about the war. So that was quite

And one of the things that I hadn't expected--I was going through the lecture
he gave when he won the Nobel Peace Prize--is that he actually uses the
phrase, `weapons of mass destruction' in terms of warning the nations of the
world against having weapons of mass destruction.

GROSS: Would you like to play for us an excerpt of one of the King speeches
that you used in this presentation that you were just mentioning with the two

Prof. CARSON: Well, I think the lecture itself is something that doesn't get
played as much. King's acceptance of the Nobel Prize was a much shorter
speech, but the lecture was a quite long address. It was about an hour long.
And in it he talked about the need to deal with the evils of the world, and
one of them, of course, is violence, which you would expect. But then he goes
on to poverty and finally he ends with war. And he says, `Recent events have
vividly reminded us that nations are not reducing but rather increasing their
arsenals of weapons of mass destruction.' And he goes on to warn against the
proliferation of nuclear weapons and to warn also that, while worrying about a
world war which would involve nuclear weapons, we should also worry about
limited wars, which he feels also threatened the future of the world.

GROSS: So let's hear a short excerpt of the speech that Martin Luther King
gave in December of 1964 upon receiving his Nobel Peace Prize.

(Soundbite of December 1964 Nobel Peace Price acceptance speech)

Dr. KING: So we must fix our visions not merely on the negative expulsion of
war, but upon the positive affirmation of peace. We must see that peace
represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the
discords of war.

Somehow we must transform the dynamics of the world power struggle from the
negative nuclear arms race, which no one can win, to a positive contest to
harness man's creative genius for the purpose of making peace and prosperity a
reality for all of the nations of the world. In short, we must shift the arms
race into a `peace race.' If we have the will and determination to mount such
a peace offensive, we will unlock hitherto tightly sealed doors of hope and
transform our imminent cosmic elegy into a psalm of creative fulfillment.

All that I have said boils down to the point of affirming that mankind's
survival is dependent upon man's ability to solve the problems of racial
injustice, poverty, and war; the solution of these problems is in turn
dependent upon man squaring his moral progress with his scientific progress,
and learning the practical art of living in harmony.

Some years ago a novelist died. Among his papers was found a list of
suggested story plots for further stories, the most prominently underscored
being this one: "A widely separated family inherits a house in which they
have to live together." This is the great new problem of mankind. We have
inherited a big house, a great "world house" in which we have to live
together, black men and white men, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and
Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Muslims and Hindus, a family unduly separated
in ideas, culture, and interests who, because we can never again live without
each other, must learn, somehow, in this one big world house, to live with
each other. And this is our great challenge.

(Soundbite of applause)

GROSS: That was Martin Luther King recorded in 1964 after receiving the Nobel
Peace Prize. My guest, Clayborne Carson, directs The Martin Luther King
Papers Project.

You know, it's funny; you chose to play for us something that showed Martin
Luther King's anti-war position. And in a way, historically, I think that's
been his most controversial position. I think it would be difficult in
America now to find somebody who supported segregation. And even if they did
support it, unless they are quite an extremist, they would probably be
reluctant to admit it; whereas I think a lot of people would say that that
pacifism, like, doesn't work, that Martin Luther King, you know, was naive,
that wars always happened, they always will happen.

Prof. CARSON: Well, I think that that's one of the aspects of King that I
find most troubling, is the way in which the relevance of his ideas are
narrowed down to the field of civil rights, when from the beginning he's
really talking about a broader range of issues having to do with social
justice and how to resolve issues of conflict in the world. And I think that
King, when you see him, even in the 1950s--you know, it's long before the
Vietnam War--he's speaking out very clearly on issues of international peace,
calling for disarmament on a world scale.

And one of the things that came through our research for Volume V of the
papers of Martin Luther King, which will be out later this year, is his trip
to India in 1959. And during that time, as you know, India was moving away
from the Gandhian legacy. And King came as a convinced Gandhian to India.
And what you see in the statements and the speeches that he gave in India is
his effort to try to deal with a country that is torn between kind of Gandhian
ideals and the reality of building a modern nation that can, you know, compete
and, perhaps, even go to war with Pakistan. Even then issues like Kashmir
were on the scene.

And when he leaves India, one of the things I found very striking was that he
called upon India to lead the world, to lead the United States and the Soviet
Union, to eliminate fear by disarming themselves. And he said,
`Unfortunately, America and the Soviet Union have not shown the faith and
moral courage to do this, but perhaps India might.' And he makes this call
for India to declare itself for disarmament unilaterally. Now looking back,
you can see that as quite naive in the sense that India probably, under Nehru
by that time, has clearly made the decision that they're not going to go down
the Gandhian path, you know. So for King, as an American Gandhian coming
there, he's almost more Gandhian than the Indians themselves. But it's a
striking statement and it's one that shows the consistency of King's ideas and
his struggle to apply them to the world as he found it.

GROSS: My guest is Clayborne Carson, director of The King Papers Project.
We'll talk more after a break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest is Clayborne Carson. He directs The King Papers Project,
which is collecting and publishing Martin Luther King's writings and speeches.

How old were you when Martin Luther King was assassinated?

Prof. CARSON: I was 24 at that time and, actually, had just returned from
Europe. I was actually a draft dodger, and I had left the United States in
1967 and came back right before King's assassination in 1968. And you can
imagine the changes that went on in the United States during '67 and '68. So
I really came back to a different country then the one I left.

GROSS: What are your memories of the day he was assassinated and what went
through your mind that day? What did you do that day?

Prof. CARSON: Well, it was kind of the thought of `welcome back to the
United States. this is what you left behind and this is what you've returned
to.' You know, it was not only King's assassination but all the violence that
happened immediately afterwards. It was a way of kind of readjusting myself
to the realities of this nation. I'd had a sense when I was gone that
although--I had felt torn between wanting to leave the United States and also
wanting to stay and see how the struggle was going to work itself out. And I
think that coming back I had a sense of the loss, you know, that King's voice
was no longer going to be there. At the time I was probably more critical of
King than I am now. You know, I was probably more drawn to the Black Panther
Party and the voices of Black Power at that time. But it hit me probably like
it hit everyone, even people who were critical of King, how important it was
to have his voice and to have him on the scene arguing for his point of view.
And I think in the years since then, you know, he's grown--well, I've grown
wiser as I've gotten older, because I've become to recognize the wisdom of
many of his ideas.

GROSS: Why, as a young man, were you a little dismissive of Martin Luther
King and more drawn to the Black Power movement?

Prof. CARSON: I think some of it just had to do with youth. I mean I, like
a lot of people who went through the struggles of the 1960s--there was a
period I think probably by '64 and '65 when many of us just didn't want to
engage in non-violent protests anymore. There was a sense of why should we
be, you know, kind of held to the standard of non-violence, you know,
especially at the time we were getting our draft notices to go off to fight in
the war in Vietnam. It just didn't make any sense anymore. And I think that
for King to have that consistent advocacy of non-violence, you know, it became
easy to just dismiss him and just say, `Well, you know, it's not going to get
resolved that way. It'll get resolved through violence.' And I think what
perhaps many of us didn't recognize is that a lot of that violence would be
inwardly directed. There were probably more black people killed through the
internal struggles of the movement in the late 1960s then the external
struggles, in some cases. And I think that...

GROSS: What do you mean by that?

Prof. CARSON: Well, I think, you know, there was a lot of ideological
conflict within the black struggle and, you know, for example, I was on the
UCLA campus when there was the killing of two Black Panthers by members of the
US organization. And to be in a situation where black people were killing
other black people because they didn't agree with the ideas, it gives a new
relevance to King's call for non-violence. It's not just a matter of violence
and the struggle, again, for civil rights and black freedom. It's a matter of
what kind of a world are you trying to bring about? And, you know, when King
says, you know, `An eye for an eye eventually leaves everyone blind,' you
know, that applies to black-on-black violence too. And I think that once we
went down that road, I think we began to have second thoughts about, you know,
this notion of armed rebellion.

GROSS: Mm-hmm.

Prof. CARSON: And, you know, so I think when you come back to King and see
what he was doing at the end of this life and understand, as we began to
understand in the '70s and '80s, that the economic issues were the unaddressed
problems of the 1960s, that we didn't really deal with the legacy of decades
of injustice. And that's were we are still today. I mean, in some ways
King's question in 1967, `Where do we go from here?,' is still the question.
You know, once we have achieved civil rights reform, what do we do next? How
do we really bring about some kind of social justice in the world when you
have this huge division, this huge gulf, between the rich and the poor? And,
you know, I think those of us who kind of went toward the Black Power
direction, we really didn't develop answers for that, at least answers that
were going to work. King didn't resolve it either, but at least he was very
consistent that that was the problem, that was the problem that needed to be

GROSS: I'd like you to play for us an excerpt of a speech you'd like us to
hear and to think about on this 75th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther
King. So perhaps you can choose a short excerpt of a speech for us and tell
us why this is the one.

Prof. CARSON: Yes. This selection that I've thought about comes from the
next volume of the King papers, Volume V, which is being done under the
editorship of Tenisha Armstrong. And in this King is responding to having
been arrested during the Atlanta sit-ins in 1960. And this even plays a role
in the presidential election, because Kennedy intervenes on King's behalf to
try to get him out of jail and Nixon does not. And that helps decide the
election, because the black vote goes very heavily to Kennedy. And this
interviewer is asking King after getting out of jail does he really have a
desire to be a martyr. And I think King's response is one that tells a lot
about what he wanted to accomplish with his life, his view of his own role and
certainly about the mission of the movement as he saw it.

GROSS: Well, before we hear an excerpt of that 1960 interview, Clayborne
Carson, I want to thank you very much for talking with us.

Prof. CARSON: Thank you for having me, Terry.

(Soundbite of 1960 interview)

Mr. ZENUS SEARS: Was this your intent when this series of events started in
the sit-in? Do you feel that you should become the image of the martyr in
this country?

Dr. KING: Well, I would hasten to say that I have no desire to be a martyr.
I don't have a martyr complex. I don't enjoy suffering. And I don't have any
desire to die. I'd like to live as long as anybody. My only concern is that
we solve this problem of racial injustice which, to my mind, is one of the
most difficult, if not the most difficult, problems facing our nation today.
It is certainly America's greatest moral dilemma. And my involvement in this
struggle is not merely for Martin Luther King. It isn't merely for the Negro.
It is to save the soul of America and because I think the whole struggle is
morally right. Now being involved in it will inevitably bring some suffering.
And I will try to take that with all of the strength and all of the power or
endurance that God will give me in the process as I constantly pray. And the
prayer is `Give me the power of endurance.'

But the basic aim, and certainly my basic concern, is that the problem will be
solved and that it will be solved in a moral way. Therefore it is as
important for me to have moral means as it is to achieve a moral end.

GROSS: Martin Luther King speaking with Zenus Sears on WAOK in Atlanta in
1960. Clayborne Carson directs The King Papers Project at Stanford
University, which is collecting, editing and publishing the writings and
speeches of Martin Luther King. I'm Terry Gross and this is FRESH AIR.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Interview: Shirley Barnhart discusses her memories of Dr. Martin
Luther King

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

The church was at the center of Martin Luther King's life and of the civil
rights movement. King was the co-pastor, with his father, at the Ebenezer
Baptist Church in Atlanta. The building that he preached in, now known as
The Heritage Sanctuary, is undergoing renovations. The Ebenezer Baptist
Church opened a new, larger building in 1999 called The Horizon Sanctuary.
If you visit the older sanctuary, you may hear the history of the church
told by its staff member Shirley Barnhart. She's a lifelong member of
Ebenezer Baptist Church and knew Martin Luther King when she was growing up.
Her family had followed King's grandfather when he moved from rural
Greensboro, Georgia, to Atlanta to preach at Ebenezer. King was nine years
older than Barnhart. She says she always knew he was special.

Ms. SHIRLEY BARNHART (Staff Member, Ebenezer Baptist Church): When I was,
like, five, six years old--I tell this story all the time--he was a teen-ager
then. And he used to be here at the church with us whenever we were all here
for whatever. It could be through the week, it could be on Sundays or
whatever. And he would see us as children, like five, six years old, and
that's the first time I remember knowing him because he used to pick me up,
along with the other little children here, throw us up in the air, catch us
and put us down ...(unintelligible) on us. Every time--and then we didn't
call him Dr. King because he wasn't Dr. King at that time, and I still don't
call him that unless I'm talking to people that didn't know him. His name was
M.L., you know, saying Martin Luther. Now he would do it every time, and
seeing as though when he--I would see him coming toward us, I would try to
hide because a lot of times he didn't know that I would be dizzy when he put
me down.

And when I was, like, that age growing on up, it was something about him then,
and I did not know what it was, I could not be myself around him. I was so
painfully shy of him because he had this presence. Now I couldn't have told
you this, you know, when I was that young, but as I grew older and older, I
knew something was very, very special about him. And then one time I had to
sing a solo hymn in '62 or '63, and Coretta heard about it. She called me up,
she said, `Shirley, whatcha going to sing?' And I told her about this
soprano, Leontyne Price, I had heard on "The Ed Sullivan Show" one Sunday
evening. And I said, `I would like to sing "A City Called Heaven." I
heard this opera singer singing it.' So she said, `OK, get the music and
bring it up to the house,' because we lived a couple of blocks from them at
that time over here. And they call it now the historic area. But back in
those days it was just the neighborhood where you lived.

OK, I took the music up and never dreaming he was going to come home that
morning from wherever he had been. And I was singing, rehearsing with
Coretta, and all of a sudden he came in, and he saw me. He had on his
overcoat and had--I never will forget--and he looked at me, he says, `Oh,
we're going to have this great voice singing for us Sunday morning.' Now it
went in one ear and out the other at that time. I didn't even think about
what he had said. But, you know, years and years later I thought about it,
and I have it on a recording because I had a concert here in '96. And I told
that story about how that happened. I said, `Now how many people can say Dr.
King called their voice great?'

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. BARNHART: So I can.

GROSS: So initially you knew Martin Luther King as, like, a big brother.

Ms. BARNHART: Oh, yes, yes.

GROSS: But when he started preaching, are there things that he said early on
that really stuck in your mind?

Ms. BARNHART: I never will forget the sermon he preached. I was pregnant
with my youngest child, and I was sitting up in the balcony, and that was the
year of '67, sort of toward the end of that year, probably in October of '67
because she was born in December. He was saying that Sunday, and these are
his words, `When that day comes, don't talk about all of my awards, don't talk
about my Nobel Peace Prize, don't talk about where I went to school, but say
on that day I tried to feed the hungry, I tried to clothe the naked, I tried
to help somebody.' And that's what he was all about. And that sermon, those
words, have stayed with me all of these years.

GROSS: How did he affect your thinking about the civil rights movement? Were
you ever an activist and...

Ms. BARNHART: No, no. You know what? I get this question a lot. We weren't
involved as members in a lot of that because Reverend King Sr. never
encouraged us as members to get involved with all of that. First of all, he
was afraid for his son; that was number one. And he didn't want him to do
thing--and this is public knowledge. Reverend King was so afraid that
something was going to happen to him, which it did years and years later. So
whenever M.L. was away marching or in jail and all that, we just waited for
him to come back home. I never thought about getting out there because, see,
the marches weren't here in Atlanta. They were in Mississippi and Alabama and
other places. We never had bad race relations here. So we didn't have any

GROSS: So did you not really strongly identify with the movement at the time?

Ms. BARNHART: No, because I was young, having my children, and I just never
thought about it, really.

GROSS: Did you ever go to him for advice?

Ms. BARNHART: No, never did. I never, never did. Whenever I was up to the
house before he married Coretta, we would just, you know, be there with him.
And I say this sometimes: In all of that time, I never saw him casual
dressed. He was always with a suit and tie on (laughs). But I never--I was
just so shy of him. You know, we all had crushes on him anyway, all of the
teen-agers (laughs).

GROSS: Oh, really?

Ms. BARNHART: Oh, yeah. We used to--I was one of the main ones. I used to
write him little notes, and when church was over, I would try to figure out
how I was going to send him this note, give it to him. And one of the little
girls that was with me, she would say, `Shirley, when you shake his hand, just
leave it in his hand.'

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: Did you do that?

Ms. BARNHART: Yeah, yeah. And to this day I don't know what I wrote on that
note--on those notes, rather.

GROSS: Did your children spend as much time in church as you did as a child?

Ms. BARNHART: Oh, not as much because when they were coming along, they had
more things to do than we did. But they were here from the moment they came
into the world up until they came out of high school. So my second son that
was dedicated by Dr. King at three months, he truly, truly loved his church,
just about like me, because he is so much like me that--and now he's with the
Count Basie Orchestra.

GROSS: Oh, what does he play?

Ms. BARNHART: He plays the trumpet.

GROSS: Oh, that's great.

Ms. BARNHART: Yes. And when Dr. King held him up that Sunday morning--now we
didn't know he was going to be here to dedicate him. I thought Reverend King
Sr. would do it because he always would do it if M.L. wasn't here. But he was
here that Sunday, and he held Scott up. He said, `Scottie, you're going
to be somebody great one day.' And of all the things that he said to Scott
and my family, because we were right on the pulpit with him and Scottie, that
particular statement never left me. I didn't dwell on it in the beginning,
but years and years later I thought about it, and I will say I believe that's
why Scott is where he is today, because if he were living, he would try to go
to every one of their concerts. That's how he was about it here at this

GROSS: My guest is Shirley Barnhart, a lifelong member of the Ebenezer
Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King was co-pastor with his
father. We'll talk more after a break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest, Shirley Barnhart, is on the staff of the Ebenezer Baptist
Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King was co-pastor with his father.
Barnhart is a lifelong member of the church and knew King when she was growing

How did you find out that Martin Luther King was assassinated?

Ms. BARNHART: I never will forget it. I was home looking at the news at
7:00. It came on the 7:00 news. I will never--when I heard it, I went almost
crazy. I was screaming, hollering. I got in my car--and my mother, if she
was living, she could tell you--I gathered up as many church members as I
could. I called them. And I went by and picked my mother up and a few other
church members. You talking about raining, I have never, ever seen it rain
like that since in my life. I couldn't hardly see going out the expressway
to get to the parents' home; that's where we were headed, not to his house but
to the parents' home. And when we got there, I never will forget seeing
Richard Nixon, Sammy Davis Jr.--a lot of the celebrities had come in that
night. And it was--now Coretta was at her house, but I wanted to be with the
parents because they were like my parents.

And I never will forget, when I was getting ready to leave to come home, I
went upstairs to Reverend King Sr.'s bedroom to let him know we were leaving.
And I peeked in the door and opened the door a little bit, there stood Dr.
Mays, who was the president of Morehouse College. He was a very close
friend of Reverend King Sr. And other ministers were standing there. And I
said, `Reverend King, we're getting ready to leave.' And you know what he
said to me?

GROSS: What did he say?

Ms. BARNHART: `Shirley, do you have a way home?'


Ms. BARNHART: See, he was always concerned about his members having a way
home at night from church. Isn't that something?

GROSS: Martin Luther King seemed to have a premonition that he might be

Ms. BARNHART: Yeah, he did, he did.

GROSS: Well, was that something that you, as a close friend of the family,
had been aware of?

Ms. BARNHART: Not me, per se, but I knew it sort of towards the end of his
life because of the things he was saying, you know, like the sermon he
preached about, you know...

GROSS: The one you mentioned earlier when we were talking, yeah.

Ms. BARNHART: Yes, uh-huh, and then when he was down in Memphis for the march
down there. But let me say this: Right before he left going to Memphis, he
knew my baby girl was going to be dedicated by him. And he told Coretta to
tell me that he couldn't wait to see her because when she was born, he was,
you know, in and out, real busy, so he hadn't had a chance to see her. But he
knew he was going to dedicate her that first Sunday in April. And he said,
`Tell Shirl I can't wait to see the baby, and, you know, I'll be back from
Memphis.' So he just knew he was coming back, but he didn't get back. So
Reverend King Sr. had to dedicate her. So that's how I know how long he's
been dead, from her age. She just turned 36 in December. So I have a baby
card that he and Coretta sent me when she was born. I still have that. I
don't have the envelope. I don't know where that is, but I have the card.

GROSS: Now there's a new Ebenezer Baptist Church...


GROSS: ...that was built with like 2,000 seats. It's much bigger and more
modern than the original church.

Ms. BARNHART: Yes, '99. Mm-hmm.

GROSS: I imagine that's where--is that where all the services are held now or

Ms. BARNHART: Yeah, uh-huh. That's where we worship now. We don't worship
over here anymore.

GROSS: So you're speaking to us from the old church. Can you still pray in
the old church even though the services aren't there?

Ms. BARNHART: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I go up every day to pray and meditate when
I'm here. That's how I start my day. And it's so--I can't describe how I
feel when I walk in there. I just feel God's presence. That church is really
anointed, and I feel like one day I may not be here to see it, but God gonna
have somebody there to preach on Sundays, to have a choir back in that choir
stand, to worship, 'cause that church was not built to be closed by anybody,
for anybody. Dr. King would turn over in his grave if he knew that church was
closed--his father, his grandfather, the first pastor. But I can't do
anything about it other than pray and hope that one day God will let us
worship back in there, because that's what it was built for.

GROSS: Shirley Barnhart, thank you so much.

Ms. BARNHART: You're so welcome.

GROSS: Shirley Barnhart is a lifelong member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church
in Atlanta, and is now on the staff. She mentioned that her son, Scottie
Barnhart, plays trumpet in the Count Basie band. Here he is with the band
from the album "Count Plays Duke." The Basie Orchestra is conducted by
Grover Mitchell.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: Coming up, what it was like to be in a Mississippi jail in 1961. We
listen back to an interview with the late civil rights activist James Farmer.
This is FRESH AIR.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We'll close with the SNCC Freedom Singers recorded in Atlanta in the spring
of 1964.


GROSS: I'm Terry Gross.

(Soundbite of music)

SNCC FREEDOM SINGERS: (Singing) We've been 'buked and we've been scorned.
We've been talked about sure's you're born. But we'll never turn back. No,
we'll never turn back until we've all been freed and we have equality. We
have walked through the shadows of death. We had...

Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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