I don't have a lot to say because I didn't play a big role, but it's something I'm very proud of, that I'll never forget, and that started me on the road to being a lifelong activist.
I was a Georgetown student in DC, and one day in May or June of 1960 I crossed the river to visit my girlfriend in Virginia. Something was going on at the local People's Drugstore, so I went in to have a look. A lunch counter sit-in was going on, so without thinking twice, I sat in too. There were about six of us, one or two of whom were from CORE.
After a while the American Nazi Party which had its headquarters nearby, got wind of the sit-in and showed up in uniform, brown shirt and all. Their "Fuehrer" George Lincoln Rockwell who later on would be assasinated also showed up. They tried to harass us with race-baiting but that didn't get them anywhere, so they would move in very close behind us and kidney punch us. The cops of course, did nothing.
After 48 years, memory fails me a bit so I can't exactly recall how it ended. Nobody went to jail, and I don't think it was that long before People's lunch counters were integrated. During the next year or so I'd occasionaly participate in protests and the one I remember best was in front of the White House where we walked with picket signs and sang all those great civil rights songs.
It wasn't long at all before I got swept up in the Nuclear Disarmament movement which soon segued into the anti-Vietnam War movement and abandoned my pacifist views. I joined SDS, refused the draft, became a fugitive and had enough adventures to fill a book. After the 60's I went to California to break into the movie biz. I worked in the rent control movement, the living wage movement, the fair trade movement, and the labor movement where I became a pro-democracy dissident and an elected board member of my local, but it was that one day back in Virginia that empowered me and that I still trace everything back to. Most activists my age are deeply worried about what lies ahead for our country and for the world, and about whether there will be another generation of fighters to rise and meet the challenge. Time will tell.