CRBB logo

Watkins / Initiating the Movement in Houston

sign up or sign in to add/edit transcript

Interviewer: So, let’s say 1959. You said it was just a collective sort of need to want to do it. Who actually pulled the trigger on it and said well alright let’s meet tomorrow or next week at this place? Watkins: Well what happened, Eldrewey was from Michigan and he worked at one of those clubs. He was in law school, so he was a working student and he worked at one of those big restaurants. So, he was coming back to Third Ward where he lived, and he got a ticket. When he pulled his wallet out with his license and he had a white girl’s picture in his wallet and the policeman asked him a whole bunch of questions and I think he hit him on the head a couple times and told him he shouldn’t have that white girl’s picture. He said this was one of my schoolmates at Michigan State and it was a big altercation with Eldrewey. So, when he got back to the campus, he went straight to the President’s office and told him about the incident. Dr. Nabrit called an assembly. Initially, Dr. Nabrit was trying to tell us be careful and racism is alive and well and police brutality, and you know, all of these things. In the meantime, he also told us, he called another assembly because the incident in North Carolina. He told us we had a right to strike. We had a right to sit in and we had his blessings if we wanted to sit in, but he wanted us to be organized. To this day, I will always appreciate the way he handled the students and the situation. That was really the trigger, Eldrewey’s experience. Like I said, he was our Malcolm X and Otis King was our Martin Luther King, because Otis was more nonviolent, turn the other cheek, you know, that type of thing. Eldrewey was like, “Ain’t going to take but so much.” That’s the way it was.

Interview Interview with Halcyon O. Watkins
Subjects Race Relations › Black-White Race Relations
Education › Teachers and Administrators
Police and Law Enforcement › Police Brutality
Student Activism
Student Activism › Sit-ins
Tags Texas Southern University
Stearns, Eldrewey
Nabrit, Samuel M.
sign up or sign in to add/edit tags
Interview date 2015-07-23
Interview source CRBB Summer 2015
Interviewees Watkins, Halcyon O.
Duration 00:02:35
Citation "Initiating the Movement in Houston," from Halcyon O. Watkins oral history interview with ,  July 23, 2015, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed September 20, 2020