The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 422
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
move around the store, and when they leave, take their seat. If the
store's closed, follow around the store. If they're not gonna serve us,
they're not gonna serve anyone."9
Movement leaders dispatched a decoy the next day as a result of infor-
mation leaked to local law enforcement officials about the precise day
scheduled for the sit-ins. Friday, March 25, the night before demonstra-
tions began, the vanguard of the movement gathered for one final dis-
cussion. Leaders decided to send ten protesters the following day to
Woolworth's, a national five-and-dime store chain. Further, after vigor-
ous debate, it was agreed that the leaders themselves would comprise
this first group in an effort to set an example for the others. Sit-ins
would begin at 10 A.M. and last for twenty-five minutes, after which new
groups would replace each other on the half-hour for three solid hours.
George Holmes admitted nervousness, but relayed an anecdote that
aptly characterized the students' predicament: "A dog was running after
a big rabbit through the woods, and a little rabbit jumped up, and the
big rabbit said to the little rabbit, 'You think you're gonna make it, little
brother?' And the little rabbit said, 'I jumped up, I gotta go now."'10
In making their final plans, the students agreed to avoid requesting
their parents' permission or even conveying their intentions to demon-
strate. Many feared their parents would attempt to talk them out of it, or
even demand they refrain by threatening to remove them from school
or withdrawing financial assistance. Wiley protester John Coss revealed
the more profound concerns of some parents who lived in similar south-
ern locales. The Coss family, from nearby Henderson, Texas, taught at
the black public schools and grew anxious about the prospect of losing
their jobs in retaliation for their son's participation."
Participants drilled for at least one week in King's non-violent passive
resistance methods. Role playing, where some students acted as white agi-
tators and even struck the black demonstrators, became an important
tool in developing the ability to stifle the intrinsic impulse to defend one-
self when attacked. Some refused to accept the non-violent philosophy,
including several football players from each school who could not allow
anyone, "especially a white man, to spit in [their] face." Consequently,
these dissenters were denied the right to participate. Literature, likely
from Blake and Simpkins, also littered the campus during the week as
part of students' orientation. The Rev. James Lawson's "ten command-
ments" brochures instructed protesters in the basic tenets of non-violent
* Texas Observer, Apr. 8, 196o; Texas 57th Legislature Investigative Committee Report.
ro Texas Observer, Apr. 8, 196o; Dr. George Holmes to Donald Seals Jr., Aug. 13, 2001, tele-
"John Coss, to Donald SealsJr., Aug. 15, 2001, interview.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/490/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.