Interview with Diane Nash
QUESTION 14
INTERVIEWER:

THAT'S A ROLL OUT ON CAMERA ROLL 354. WE'RE GOING TO 355. AND ALSO THE SOUND IS CHANGING. SOUND ROLL 1324, CAMERA ROLL 355. INTERVIEW WITH DIANE NASH. LET ME GIVE YOU SOME REFERENCE TONE.

Diane Nash:

The movement had a way of reaching inside you and bringing out things that even you didn't know were there. Such as courage. When it—when it was time to go jail, I was much too busy to be afraid. The sit-ins were really highly charged, emotionally. I'm—I'm thinking of one in particular where, in our nonviolent workshops, we had decided to be respectful to the opposition, and try to keep issues geared towards desegregation, not get sidetracked. And the first sit-in we had, was really funny, because the waitresses were nervous. And they must have dropped $2,000 worth of dishes that day [laughter]. I mean, literally, it was almost a cartoon. Because I can remember one in particular, she, she was so nervous. She picked up dishes and she dropped one and, and she'd pick up another one, and she'd drop it and another. It was really funny, and we were sitting there trying not to laugh, because we thought that, that laughing would be insulting and you know, we didn't want to create that kind of atmosphere. At the same time, we were scared to death. ** And so there were all these emotions going on. Well, the day that the police first arrested us was interesting too, because their attitude—they had made a decision they were going to arrest us if we sat-in that day, and so, they announced to us "OK, all you nigras, get up from the lunch counter or we're going to arrest you". And their attitude was like, well, we warned you. So they repeated it a couple of times, and nobody moved. And of course, we were prepared for this. So they said, "Well, we warned you, you won't move. OK, everybody's under arrest." So we all get up and marched to the wagon. ** Well, actually, I wasn't in the first group. But everybody who was at the lunch counter was arrested. So then the police had the attitude like, OK, we warned them, they didn't listen. And then they turned and they looked around the lunch counter again, and the second wave of students had all taken seats. And they were confounded, kind of looked at each other like, now what do we do, you know? They said, "Well, OK, we'll arrest those too." And they did it. Then the third wave. No matter what they did and how many they arrested, there was still a lunch counter full of students, there. ** And it—it was interesting to watch their response, which was really, really surprised them. They didn't quite know how to act, and pretty soon it just got to be a problem for them.