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Ms. Sunny Nash and segregation in Bryan when she was growing up

Interviewer: I asked Sunny if there were any places that broke the barrier regarding segregation in Bryan at that time.

Ms. Sunny Nash: The library. I mean here, right here. This was in 1959 or '60. My cousin, Margaret, whose picture is downstairs because I wrote a story about her, the Carnegie contacted me and we got this event and all that stuff. Anyway, we had to go to the book mobile. We couldn't come to the library because it was segregated. Margaret read all the books that the book mobile had and she demanded more books, and they just didn't have any more. They couldn't put enough books in the book mobile for her. So this was the summertime so she said, "I'm going to go to the Carnegie library." And so she got three of us, me, her cousin and two other friends, and we all came downtown. We didn't tell our parents what we were going to do because we knew they would not approve. So we got here and the three of us sat downstairs on the steps and Margaret came inside, and she stayed a very long time and we didn't know what had happened to her, and we were afraid to go in to see.

Ms. Sunny Nash: So we sat there and sat there, and finally, the doors burst open and Margaret came out with a stack of books, and that was the first time a black child had come in and was able to check out books. They issued her a card. And we didn't think anything of it so we went on down, we went on around the corner to Jared's Pharmacy and decided we were going to get us a soda. Since she got books, we're going to get a soda, and we went down to Jared's and the man behind the counter when we walked in, we didn't think we'd be served and we didn't have any money. Then he said, "What can I get for you ladies?" And we didn't have any money, we were just bluffing. So if we had had some money, we would've gotten our books and we would've gotten our soda and everything would've been fine and Bryan was just not going to have any problems. They just weren't going to have any, not that day. So that was the summer of, I'd say '59 or '60.

Interviewer: How old were you and how old was Margaret?

Ms. Sunny Nash: 10, we were 10 years old. Yeah, we were 10. We had just turned 10 years old.

Interviewer: Okay.

Ms. Sunny Nash: Just troublemakers was what we were because we were watching all these things on the news and we were seeing the civil rights marchers going through all of this peril, and the Freedom Riders being burned out of their buses and all this stuff was going on about that time. And little children being hosed down with the water and dogs and things, and so we felt like we should be doing something, and so we did. And it didn't work out the way we thought it was going to work out because Texas is not Alabama, first of all, and that's what I remember about learning about what segregation really meant.

Ms. Sunny Nash: But my mother always told me that if I ever had a chance to try to change some things, the way people thought about other people, she said, "Take every opportunity to do that because a lot of people don't know anything different from the way they're behaving. They don't know. They don't know that you're smart. They don't know what you can do. You have to take every chance you can to change the way people feel about us," and that was what she sent me out into the world with and that's what I've always lived by.