Chairman of the NAACP, 1998-2010, Julian Bond, politician, professor and writer, has been a leader in the American Civil Rights movement since the 1960s.
JULIAN BOND: First, let me apologize for us for being late. We did our best. We're sorry you had to wait.
I got involved in the movement for Civil Rights almost by accident. I was going to Morehouse College in Atlanta. I was sitting in a café place where people went between classes or instead of classes. And an older student came up to me and showed me a newspaper. And he said, "Have you seen this?" And I said, "Yeah, I've seen that." It was pointed to a story that said, "Greensboro students sit in for third day." And it told how black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina, for the third day in a row, had gone to the local F & W (sic) Woolworth's department store, had bought things over here and over there, and had sat down at the lunch counter and asked to be served and had been refused service and stayed there for awhile and got up and then came back the next day.
And I said, "Yes, I’ve seen that." He says, "What do you think about it?" I said, "I think it's great." He said, "Don't you think it ought to happen here in Atlanta," where we were. And I said, "Oh, I know somebody's going to do it in Atlanta. I know somebody's going to do it here." And he said the magic words. He said, "Why don't we make it happen?" And before I could resist, he said, "You take this side of the café, and I'll take that side of the café, and we'll make it happen." And over the next couple of days, we drew a larger and larger group together. And then about two hundred of us went to restaurants in downtown Atlanta and were arrested.
And that was my entry into the movement for Civil Rights.
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