Favorite

Krystal clear 

From “Lessons from Little Rock” by Terrence Roberts

'LESSONS LEARNED': From Little Rock Nine member Terrence Roberts.
  • 'LESSONS LEARNED': From Little Rock Nine member Terrence Roberts.

Though he'd been to the Krystal hamburger restaurant on a number of occasions, Roberts, without thinking, sat down one day to wait for his order. He soon realized his mistake — that he was sitting in the white section.

 

“I

 trace my decision to join the Little Rock Nine almost directly to an episode that had occurred about two years earlier, when I was thirteen, on an unremarkable summer day in Little Rock. My memory of that day … is clearly imprinted on my mind. I remember it as if it happened yesterday.
Summer days in Little Rock were often quiet, lazy days. It was hot and sultry, nothing special about the day on the surface, but it would very soon become a permanent marker in time and space for me.

I had walked to the Krystal Burger, a hamburger joint in Little Rock where my favorite order was burger, fries, and chocolate malt — to go. The Krystal Burger was a white-owned establishment. I had been there many times before, and I knew the rules very well. The rules were quite clear actually. Black people could not eat the food they had purchased while still inside the Krystal Burger; they could not occupy any of the counter stools or chairs around the tables; they could only order food to go. Unlike some of the other whites-only eating places in Little Rock with a back door reserved for black customers, the Krystal Burger allowed black people to enter the front door but did not allow them beyond a very circumscribed front section. I was sitting down in a restaurant that provided seats for white customers only!
This day was no different except that right after placing my order, I hopped up on one of the stools at the counter to wait for my burger and fries. It was most certainly out of character for me to do that. I don't remember why I decided to sit on the stool that day. It just felt like an ordinary thirteen-year-old kind of thing to do while I waited, a momentary lapse of consciousness, I guess. Suddenly there was absolute silence. Nobody in the Krystal Burger that day, not the workers, nor any of the customers, said a word, but all of them turned their heads to look at me.”

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

Latest in Cover Stories

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation