Clifton Franklin (CF) and Shirley Lee Riley (SLR)
CF: Do you remember the day he died?
SLR: I was very young, but I remember, later on that evening, when people start coming to the house. I knew that was what was really going on.
My daddy started getting involved in the NAACP and the Civil Rights Movement, and he was targeted because my father felt like the only way that we were gonna be able to have a voice is that we would be able to vote.
But, I remember my mom telling me somebody told her that they pulled straws that night on who was gonna kill my dad.
CF: The man who killed him walked free. Do you remember anything about the trial?
SLR: I would ask mother and she would just say that justice wasn’t served.
My father demanded respect, from black and white, and he gave respect. He tried to always teach his family about hard work, honesty, persevering. And my mom kept that same persevering going. Even at her death at 97, she still wanted us to hold on to what her and my father had left behind. And that’s what I tried to instill into my children.
So, your relationship with your grandfather was stole from you. Is there anything that you wish you could tell him?
CF: First thing I would say is, ‘Thank you’ — thank you for being who he was, being a hard worker and just treating a man as a man treats him no matter color, creed, culture, religion.
I don’t want his legacy to go to waste. And I definitely will do my part, so his work and his name doesn’t die.