“I was making my way across the state of Arkansas...”
Mildred Bond Roxborough, who has worked for the NAACP for more than 50 years, tells her colleague Maxim Thorne about an incident from her early days on the road.
Click here for the transcript.
I was making my way across the state of Arkansas in July and August, the hottest months, getting parents to sign petitions to get their local school integrated. I was supposed to speak to the branch, you always had to speak to the units, so I wanted to take a bath and there was a tin tub, it was about two feet deep and large enough to wash clothing in, that's what the tub was intended. Anyway, I decided that I wanted to sit down and get the water over me because I was hot and dusty but then I couldn't push myself off from the tub. I was just stuck. So I called my host and she could not get me from the tub so she went out and conferred and they decided that they would take me into the backyard so they could pour the water from the tub. The backyard had a wire fence and people were walking along the sidewalk and they stopped to watch this, this spectacle. Eventually they were able to pull me up out of the tub, then people applauded. And they put something over me. And I went back into the house. That night at the meeting I was introduced by the branch president and I approached the podium and someone in the audience arose and he said, 'You know Mr. President, we've already met Ms. Bond. We saw her earlier today and she looks as good in clothing as she did with none on.'