This experience showed me how quickly things can get out of hand when you’re dealing with a person’s emotional investment in a socially accepted tradition.
I also saw now that God would be on my side, but he’d be the only one there. Apparently, I couldn’t count on my fellow activists, the CORE observation team OR the police to protect me from unwarranted harm. No, the rules of the game had changed.
The campus CORE chapter grew, slowly. (The immediate problem – public accommodations – would be solved by state legislation in 1964, shortly before the July 2 passage of the US Civil Rights Act, which outlawed most racial discrimination even if it didn't have the teeth to enforce it.) By 1962 and 1963, rental housing was the next big issue, followed by a push to fully integrate colleges and universities in the metro-DC area.
I continued attending CORE meetings on campus for another 1 ½ years, just didn't do sit-ins. Instead, I wrote op-ed pieces, represented CORE at meetings of other organizations on campus, and kept up on the group’s activities at other schools. In other words, this was my first job in public relations, but I didn’t realize it at the time.
If I were to build a criminal record, let it be for something important, like guaranteeing someone’s right to medical care or an education.
Hey, if I got killed, I got killed, but let me die protecting someone from a lynching, or making sure he or she was free to exercise the right to vote.
And that is exactly what my friend Jim Reeb did in Selma, several years later. But, that’s another story.