In early March 1965, when I was a junior at Northern Illinois University near Chicago, I walked through our student union one evening and saw a bus with a sign reading “March in Selma, Alabama.” Several students, both African American and white, were trying to recruit as many of us as possible to travel to that protest march to be led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I walked back and forth for about a half hour, trying to decide if I wanted to go. I was certainly angry enough about how many places in the South were disobeying or ignoring the guidelines of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and how many protests were already underway. But in the end, I didn’t get on that bus and to this day, I still have regrets. I also wonder what direction my life might have taken if I had become a protester or activist.