It’s funny to me how people came to believe that the reason I did not move from my seat was my feet was tired. My feet were not tired. But I was tired of unfair treatment. I saw and heard so much as a child growing up, so much hate and injustice against black people. Long ago, I set my mind to be a free person and not to give in to fear. I always believed it was my right to defend myself if I could. I learned to put my trust in God and seek him as my strength. My favorite book of the Bible is Psalms. My mother used to read it to me when I was a child: The Lord is my light and salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom should I be afraid?
I believe the Lord tests us. On many occasions I was tested. Back in the segregation days I walked upstairs rather than ride in elevators marked ‘colored.’ On hot days when my throat was dry, I walked past the ‘colored’ water fountain and waited until I got wherever I was going to get something to drink. I have never allowed myself to be treated as a second-class citizen. I believe you must respect yourself before others can respect you. I want to be remembered as a person who stood up to injustice, who wanted a better world for young people, and most of all, I want to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free. I still believe there can be a day when we will have true freedom, a day when we can all get along regardless of our race. This is not a dream. It is alive within the ability of us all. This I believe.
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