Lydia Tucker Arnold

By Nicholas Pasley

Lydia Tucker Arnold, known as Lydia Tucker at the time, was the secretary of student government at Clark College. During her senior year at Clark in February 1960, Tucker Arnold was invited to a meeting of student government officers of the Atlanta University Center institutions, where the intentions of fellow student activist Lonnie King were discussed.

According to Tucker Arnold in a video, this is where the idea of the Atlanta Student Movement was introduced to the people in attendance. Tucker Arnold thought that Lonnie King’s idea was “absolutely crazy” but as he kept talking, she sparked an interest in it all because she “knew of the evilness that was going on at that time…but not being able to sit at a lunch counter because your skin is black is just not right, does not make sense, so [she] wanted to be a part of eradicating that kind of foolishness.”

…but not being able to sit at a lunch counter because your skin is black is just not right, does not make sense, so I wanted to be a part of eradicating that kind of foolishness.Lydia Tucker Arnold
According to Tucker Arnold, the main goal of the Atlanta Student Movement was to “destroy segregation in the city of Atlanta” with regards to being able to sit at the lunch counters and enter establishments through the front door. Tucker Arnold was also a part of a boycott where they asked everyone to send their credit cards to them and to not shop. As an officer, she was a founding member of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights.

In March 1960, she and other students participated in sit-ins. After participating in three sit-ins, she was arrested and stayed in jail for two weeks. She eventually served on Atlanta’s city council.