Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Kenneth ClarkKenneth Clark
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 763

So we went down and got our names enrolled, and we were called, and worked at nights, I think from 8 to something, 8 PM. We had a break for lunch at night, and we went across the street from the central Postoffice in Washington, and there was a little hamburger joint, something like White Tower. It might not have been White Tower, but it was something like that.

And all of us who got off at the same time rushed over there, and I got in, and there was one seat left. I pushed myself in -- pushy -- and I sat down, and I noticed that my friend didn't compete with me for that seat. He stood back.

And this guy behind the counter looked at me as if he'd seen a ghost or some monster or something.

Well, I was so damn naive, I didn't know that he was looking at me that way, so I turned around to see what was wrong behind me. I thought something was wrong.

And he started shouting, you know, “Get up, get up! We 'll not serve you. Get up, get up!”

You know -- he was going crazy.

And when it occurred to me what the hell was happening, I let out a stream of profanity that I didn't know I had in me. I really didn't know that I knew all those words, that I called that guy. And he was shocked. Everybody around me was shocked. The person who was most shocked was my friend, who came up and put his arm around me, you know. He didn't want us to get into trouble. He didn't want us to be arrested or anything. But I cussed and cussed and cussed.

I wanted to be arrested. This was four years before I was.

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help