Dockum sit-in participant shares experience and advice for young protesters

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – As a high school student, Dr. Galyn Vesey took a seat to make a change in 1958. He was one of the participants in the Dockum Drugstore sit-in, the first student-led lunch counter sit-in in the country.

“What we did was necessary and right. Had we not stayed with it who knows, we might have been carrying the food out,” said Vesey.

One by one, black students would sit at the counter, refusing to move until they were served.

“It really got tiring just sitting there. Not suppose to be talking, these were some of our ground rules, not reading a magazine, looking like that if somebody waiting on you, you would be yeah I’m ready to place an order,” he said.

It was a movement that lasted weeks until one day, black people were finally served equally.

“You felt good about yourself. We didn’t get a dime for it, but we got something that money wouldn’t buy and that was justice and recognition of being a human being,” said Vesey.

Today, people have gone from sitting to marching for the same social justice; this time with more people joining the movement.

“It’s wholesome now to see white Americans, white students, young folks to me that’s a phenomenon, not during my time in the 40s, 50s, 60s. We may have been at war with them,” he said.

He says the road to progress has not been a straight line.

“You take one step forward and sometimes two steps backwards, and if you don’t protect it, you lose it, and young people doesn’t often understand that one.”

Vesey is proud of the younger generation but says the call for justice shouldn’t stop when the rally ends.

“Make sure its something you wanna do because it is going to take time, take energy, and unfortunately, you may be hurt, injured or lose your life.”

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