Alyene Quinn

McComb, Mississippi

J: I remember your restaurant

A: yes

Civil Rights Activist

Restaurant Owner


J: And one of the things that I remember that made such an impression on me, it may have been the only time you and I talked, but you were behind the counter

A: yes


J: And you reached down inside your, your dress and you had a pistol that kept there

A: (laughs)

J: Can you tell me about the time that you, about that period, why you carried a pistol?

A. Well, I always carry a gun because you never knew who was going to attack you, you know. I didn't carry it to, just to, I didn't want to murder anyone, but I carried it for my protection, since I was a lady and going to and from work all time of night and early in the morning. So that's why I carried a gun with me.

Yes, they bombed Society Hill, well they bombed Society Hill the same night they bombed my house. And I think it was Sweet Home Baptist Church and Mt. Vernon Baptist Church. It was quite a few churches got bombed.

J: Do you know who did that?

A: Well, I don't know who did that, but I know who bombed my house and the Society Hill Church.

J: Was it people who were members of an organization?

A: Yes

J: Which, which one was it?

A: The KKs

J: It was the KKK?

A: Yes. And then they had the White Knights, and they had different organizations, but it was the KKs was really the one that did all the dirty work. Everybody was just afraid. You wanted to go some place, everybody was, you hardly would catch people out at night, you know, because they was afraid, they didn't know what would happen. They would take people out and they would beat them up and, just whatever they decided to do to you, that's what they would do.

The only time I was afraid was after the house got bombed. Jackie was nine, she was nine in September, the night they threw the bomb I gave her a birthday party. The cake was all everywhere and everything. So when I came back from Jackson that night the curtains were open and the light was on. So that was why they knew where the children were sleeping.

You wake up in the night with 14 sticks of dynamite thrown at your head and everything was just gone, dusty, and they couldn't see, and it was just, it was just something that I, I just didn't think the children could go through with, but they did all right.

Because I might have did something. Because I bought a rifle, a 30 ought 6, and one of them threatened me about it. Because my granddaughter was born in the hospital, integrated the hospital, and they told me that I "have had it" and I guess it was some of the nurse's husbands because they had to tell them, he said that "You have had it." Said, "You have got bombed, and you got burnt out," he said, "but we're going to get you." I said, "Now listen, I have a 30-ought 6 and I'm happy on the trigger." I said, "If you ever pass by here and stop," I said, "I'm afraid I'm going to let you down." And I meant that.


A: I used to feel like, that I, I just thought maybe that white people, I, I just couldn't stand the sight of them. And after my house was bombed, and you know, once upon a time I'd have a butcher knife at every door so if someone tried to come in well I just use that butcher knife--that was my mind. But since then, after my house was bombed, and I began to look at how God had saved my children and all that I have been through with, He saved us. And I said, why should I hate people when God has His hand, he has a hand in those things and He sits high but He looks low


A: I feel like that everybody is, you might be different color, but you all the same. There shouldn't be any races. Now you know we're all different color but we're all the same, we're just as one person.