I joined the Non-violent Action Group in 1960 when I was seventeen years old and a junior in high school. I joined the picket lines at Glen Echo Amusement Park and picketed daily, after school and after work, for several months, until the owners of the park relented and desegregated. I remember the picket sign I carried every day, "The Road to Hell is Paved with Little Rocks," an awkward pun but a moral statement, in reference to the segregationist resistance at Little Rock, Arkansas three years earlier, which had made an impression on me when I was fourteen years old, the same age as the youngest of the courageous Black students who braved the nasty crowds every day to attend Little Rock High School.
I remember the day that the American Nazi Party came to threaten our picket line, and the many wonderful people I walked with, and talking to numerous potential entrants to the park asking them to boycott it. I was a fast runner and thus I often ran from the picket line at the front entrance to the picket line in the parking lot to carry messages between the two groups of picketers, and learned a lot about the organizational details that the leaders attended to. And I remember the exhiliration of our victory.
Many of us then went on to picket the Bethesda-Hiser movie theatre, which also took several months before the owner, who could not stand the idea of admitting Black people, sold the theatre to a new owner who renamed the theatre Baronet and desegregated.
Years later, when I returned to the area after college and graduate school, I joined and became co-chair of the D. C. Statehood Party, the main purpose of which was to gain political rights for the disenfranchised residents of Washington, D. C., denied these rights because the majority of the city is non-white.
The civil rights movement did as much for me as I did for it, or more, because it made me proud, and it found me dignified friends.