Friday, August 16, 2013

Civil Rights Movement: 10 Questions to my Mom

This year is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Today my mom said 'oh yeah, I did some protesting.' I had no idea.

In 1963, my mom -Yvonne Boston- was a college student in Daytona Beach, Florida. She went to the historically Black college, Bethune Cookman. I wanted to record these details from 1963.

Name: Yvonne Boston Squire

Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina

Current Town: Miami Gardens, FL. 

Q: What did you do?

A: We held protests at Morrison Cafeteria when we were in college. Marching around with signs to get them desegregate the entire restaurant. Back then, Morrison had a big chain in Daytona and Miami. I never ate there before because it was too far from campus.

Q: Why didn't you tell me this before?

A: I don't know. Everyone was doing it back then. I was in college and I think the NAACP came to our campus and asked us students to be a part of the movement. We signed up. Our non-violence training was pretty simple. They just told us 'this isn't Malcolm X. We're not trying to punch people. Don't respond to their comments. Just walk and hold the signs.'

Q: Were you able to stay completely non-violent?

A: Sort of. We were marching back and forth in front of the cafeteria. There was this middle-aged White woman who kept breaking our line. And she would bump me. And then she would come back through and bump me again. So the third time I put my elbow out. (laughs) It was very subtle but I just nudged her and kept marching. It was little...just some people are bullies, you know that. And they just need a little encouragement...(laughs) to stop. She didn't come back through our line again.

Q: How many of you showed up?

A: 20-30 depending on the day. Bethune was a small college. A lot of people were on Malcolm X's side. They wanted violence. I really didn't know what I wanted. I just floated through. I remember coming back from protest and having to go to German class (laughs). "Machen sie das buch zu!"

Q. How long did you march?

A: A few hours each day. We marched maybe a few weeks or a month or so, don't quite remember. It was around November. And then Kennedy was killed.

Q: How were people back then?

A: Daytona isn't a place people were born. People come from other places. So we had catcalls from people in cars and on the sidewalks.

Q: What would they say?

A: Go home...and 'other things.'

Q: Did you march on the day when Kennedy was killed?

A: Yes. And a car drove by and someone yelled out, 'your president got killed.' Your president. As if they are from another country. 'How do you feel now, your president has been shot! Go home!'

Q: How did students react to Kennedy being assassinated?

A: People were shocked and sad. They were crying. It was unbelievable. Someone heard it on the radio and it spread around the campus. But we still got out there that day and the next.

Q: And what ended up happening?

A: They desegregated. Very soon after that. But I ate at Morrison's years later in Miami...after they had desegregated. The food was actually good.

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