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

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Hutchinson lobbyist moves to Teacher Retirement System

    Rett Hatcher, director of legislative affairs for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, has left the governor's staff to go to work Wednesday as deputy director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System.
  • Obamascare

    Republicans at long last may be about to see their most fervent wishes and wildest predictions materialize — millions of people losing their medical and hospital coverage, unaffordable insurance, lost jobs, a Medicare financial crisis, mushrooming federal budget deficits and fiscal crises across state governments.
  • Megyn vs. Alex

    As vigorously hyped broadcast events go, Megyn Kelly's televised confrontation with internet conspiracy cultist Alex Jones proved something of a dud.
  • Monkey wrenches

    Junior is 17 now, and shows no interest in driving, or even taking the driving test. It's got his Old Man a little concerned, and not just because we're running a car service for one these days.

Latest in Cover Stories

  • You're doing your 401(k) wrong

    Hundreds of thousands of retirement dollars could be at stake.
    • Jun 22, 2017
  • Forever, sculpture

    Artwork, and a city director, carve out a special place along Little Rock's riverfront.
    • Jun 15, 2017
  • Loaves and fishes

    A proposed ordinance would limit the ability of charities to feed the homeless in LR city parks. Opponents say it's about keeping the poor out of sight, out of mind.
    • Jun 8, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

June

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  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation