Taking a Stand


The South gets the majority of attention in discussions of the civil rights movement. Cities like Birmingham, Montgomery, and Little Rock were sites of great violence and received nationwide media attention. However, inequality existed in all corners of the United States, and civil rights activism was taking place across the country in the 1950s and 1960s. A few months after activist Edgar “Vik” Vickery was imprisoned in a small Louisiana town for his contributions to a business boycott by the local Black population, Bay Area women Frances Bell and Margaret Louise Koster were arrested for protesting against the discriminatory hiring practices of San Francisco’s Sheraton-Palace Hotel. In recounting these incidents, all three describe their mistreatment at the hands of the police—a common occurrence for demonstrators and organizers no matter who or where they were.