Reverend King gently squeezed Martin's hand as they entered the shoe store. The reverend sat and waved to the chair beside his own. "Take a seat, son."
Martin glanced over his shoulder at the store clerk. The man's face looked pink with rage, but his voice never rose above a whisper, "These seats are for white
customers. Negroes wait at the back of the store."
Martin's father stood, took his son's hand again, and walked out.
"But, Daddy, we didn't get shoes."
"They can insult us, Martin, but they can only shame us if we let them."
The grim line of the reverend's mouth softened into a smile. "We'll buy shoes from someone who appreciates our business."
The lesson of the shoe store remained
with Martin for the rest of his life.
adapted from Stride Toward
Freedom: The Montgomery Story