We were sitting down at a lunch counter at a Woolworth’s store, and a local police officer came by and said, “You must move. You refuse to move. You’ll be placed under arrest.” I stayed anchored on that stool until they caught me under my arms and led me out of the store to a wagon to be taken off to jail.
I felt free. I felt liberated. I felt like I had crossed over. I was not afraid. I had lost all sense of fear. I felt free even in jail—even behind bars. I felt free. I was in there with my friends, my colleagues, and even in jail we could sing songs. We could conduct nonviolent workshops. It was almost like a teach-in in jail. So by being behind these bars in this jail cell, I think the opposition thought they were hurting us but in a real sense they brought us closer together.