Sunday, January 24, 2010

An Important Memory During a Significant Week

During the lead up to the 50th anniversary of the sit-ins at Woolworths this weekend and the opening of The International Civil Rights Museum, there will be much written. The best items chronicled will be personal recollections. The following is a personal facebook post I received, and responded to, from an old friend in the neighborhood where I grew up in Greensboro. I have not seen him in 45 or 50 years.

Michael: "Bob, I remember being in front of your house when these buses came by heading away from town and the people in these buses were singing. At my young age, I thought they were some of the happiest people I had ever seen. Not until many years later did I realize that they were heading off to jail. I believe they were arrested for protesting at Woolworths. Does anyone remember if there was a jail out Bessemer Avenue and if this is where protestors were sent?"

Bob: "Michael, yes, the old polio hospital at the end of Bessemer Ave. was turned into a jail to house demonstrators. I believe, though, this was is 1962 when Jesse Jackson was President of the student body at A&T (and quarterback on the football team). There were massive demonstrations downtown as they continued to try and desegregate all public accommodations. Jackson himself was arrested and taken out there at one point. (I had a friend whose Dad worked out there)".

"I once heard Rev. Jackson say that those in the movement liked demonstrating in Greensboro because the police were so polite. He said, for example, large groups of demonstrators would sit down in the street (in the square) and when the police approached they would begin to recite the Lord's Prayer and the police would stop in their tracks. When they concluded and officers continued in, they would start praying again and the officers would stop again. lol! There were never any hoses, dogs, or 'Bull' Connors in Greensboro".

"I remember Bill Aycock, Stanley Braswell,and I sneaking downtown and peaking around buildings to see the turmoil. What a sight and what a vivid memory. I was 14. My parents would have killed me had they known! lol!"

"Michael, what a nice memory you have recalled. Thank you for sharing this important memory during this significant week."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive