Laurie Pritchett:
You know, I'd been invited to [Attorney General] Robert Kennedy's office in Washington, and I was up there for a week visiting with him as his guest. And he asked me, he said, "Chief Pritchett, what will your people do when the Public Accommodations Bill [Civil Rights Act of 1964] is passed?" I said, "Tell me. You're asking me about my people. Now what people are you referring to? If you're referring to my people in Albany, Georgia, we'll abide by it. Everybody'll abide by that law if it's passed. Now if you're asking me what the South will do, Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma and these other places, I don't know what they're going to do." I came back that day after the bill was signed. He [President Johnson] signed it; Dr. King was up there. We listened to it on the radio coming in. And we knew that night that they were going to test out the places in Albany. I not only went to all the businesses and met with them at the Chamber of Commerce, I said, "If this bill is passed then it's all over. They're going to come in, they're going to eat, they're going to sleep in the motels. The law is the law, and I've been enforcing it because we had our laws. Now if this is passed we're going to enforce that one. I'm going to force you to open up, and it's going to be nonviolent." And that night they went in. They went -- Slater, C.B. [brothers: Slater King and C.B. King] -- and some of them went to the Holiday Inn. They went right in, had their dinner. Some of them raced it and went all over. You know, nothing happened. And so this is what I say: when it became a law that the people in the businesses and things of this nature had to do it by law, they did it.

- Laurie Pritchett, former police chief of Albany, Georgia

Interview with Laurie Pritchett by James Reston, Jr., April 23, 1976, Interview B-0027, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection #4007, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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