In 1968, the Air Force sent me to attend the Academic Instructor Course at the Air University in Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama. I was also assigned as the barracks chief. One Saturday morning I noticed that the barracks seemed quiet. The only other person in wing was my assistant barracks chief in the room next to mine.

I knocked on his door and asked if he wanted to go down into Montgomery sight seeing. His immediate reaction was a strong NO. When I asked him why, he told me that it would not be safe for a black service man and a white service man to walk around Montgomery together. I remember telling him that no one had ever told me where I could go or who I could go with and I was not about to start letting anyone tell me now.

After some convincing, he agreed to go with me and we went together into downtown Montgomery. No one hassled us but we did get some strange looks. If I could be out there demonstrating with my brothers an sisters of all hues, I would be. Since I can’t. I have to be content to encourage others to be involved while I work on structural ways to make our country better in terms of equality of justice and opportunity.

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