"It might have been around fifth or sixth grade when I began to protest again the way things were. I refused to step aside when walking downtown, when a white person would approach me. Thinking it about, years later, I suppose that was a form of protest.
"My mother, she used to carry me to town, and she used to pull me in front of her when we approached white people. When I was on my own, I refused to step aside.
"In high school, I threw the 'colored' sign out the window. They didn’t do anything to us because none of us would admit doing it.
"Later, during the sit-ins and picketing in 1960, it was touchy to have someone maybe push you and to not push back. I
was Christian and everything, but I was kind of used to pushing back, used to not stepping to the side. With the nonviolence, you’re kind of stepping to the side.
"I can remember in one of the demonstrations, a white fella with a cigarette coming toward my face. I was just standing there and I was not gonna move. My girlfriend, Lucretia [Collins], was behind me. She told me later that she was gonna put her hand in front of my face. But I was gonna stand there. He didn’t put the cigarette on me, but I had planned, in my mind, I was gonna stand there." ###