Gwen Saunders Gamble - United States
I participated in just about all of it. But there were certain marches where you went to jail. There were marches where people, it was like a control group, they would go and they would sit in and they were asked to leave. That group left, you know, without being arrested. So, when you went, when you went to march, and if you were asked to leave, you knew whether you were going to jail or not at that time and you got that instruction from the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. So, it wasn’t impromptu. You knew what you’re going to do unless you’re out there doing something you had no business doing, which -- that rarely happened. But the night before I went to jail, I stood up the night before and I signed up to go to jail. So, you must sign up so they could know who’s in…
I was arrested at J. J. Newberry’s and J. J. Newberry’s was like a five and dime store. But to me, they had the best hamburger and milkshake in the world. Although we had to go through all kinds of problems to get served to get it, because when you can walk into the lunch counter upstairs, you would always see the white girls and the boys up there sitting down and fellowshipping and enjoying their hamburgers and milkshakes and we had to go to the basement. Now, if you went to the basement and there were other whites down there, you can order but you have to stand at the end of the counter, the lunch counter, to order it. So, that’s the place I went when I was arrested. We went in and there were maybe ten of us. We had a seat at the lunch counter and the waitress saw us coming. So, she ran in the back, peeking at us through the peephole in the door. We sat there for maybe five minutes or so, and the next thing we know, here comes police to the door. And they came directly to me because I was the captain of the group. How did he knew I was the captain? I don’t know, but he did come to me. This one particular officer came to me and he said, “You’re protesting without a permit and I’m going to ask you to leave.” And I refused, I didn’t say a word. He said it again, “You’re protesting without a permit. Now, you will go to jail if you don’t get your -- and get out of here.” I acted just like he didn’t say anything. So, finally he said, all right, everybody here, get up, line up and go outside. Well, we knew, we had been taught, if you don’t, then you’re resisting arrest. So, we got up and we lined up outside the building.