Charles Black

By Ryan Basden

Among the giants of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta such as Lonnie King and Julian Bond exists Charles Black, a student at Morehouse College who was first arrested at the age of 19 for standing up against segregation in the Atlanta area. In this NPR interview, Charles Black describes his experiences during the sit-ins that took place at Rich’s department store.

fire hoses, verbal abuse and billy clubs are only the ones visible from the outsideCharles Black
Backlash

It’s the duty of many of our gathered iconic images to make up our lasting perception of the resistance that African-Americans felt during the Civil Rights Movement: fire hoses, verbal abuse and billy clubs are only the ones visible from the outside, according to Charles Black.

Much of what went on inside private areas was rarely seen or documented by other people. Black describes being burnt with cigarettes and coffee while sitting at the lunch counters – something far more brutal than is conventionally discussed.

“revolutionary vs. evolutionary”Charles Black
Revolutionary vs. Evolutionary

Black describes in his interview that much of the student movement was looking for change that mattered: “revolutionary vs. evolutionary”, according to Black.

Students weren’t looking for change to be slow instituted through legislative measures or generational acceptance. Change needed to happen quickly, and according to Black, staging protests was the only way for that to happen.