At Only 15, He Understood His Role Within The Civil Rights Movement

white people surrounding black man doing a sit in protest
Via Flickr
L. Graciella Maiolatesi
January 18, 2022

A teenager in the 1950s, Dion Diamond was disgusted by segregation. So he took a risk – and staged sit-ins ALONE when nobody else in his town would!

He demanded service and made impassioned speeches in all-white establishments until police arrived – and then he’d narrowly escape. But would his experience riling up white teens at lunch counters prepare him to go toe-to-toe with a more dangerous foe?

While attending Howard University, Diamond joined the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG). On June 9th, 1960, they staged one of many sit-ins after being refused service at white-owned establishments. 

Diamond remained calm, despite white teenagers harassing and throwing lit cigarettes at him. But then things escalated – a leader of the American Nazi Party got in his face! Would he cave under pressure?

No! NAG’s demonstration efforts grew, with Diamond picketing, protesting, and getting arrested multiple times.

Demonstrations lasted all summer – until FINALLY establishments gave in and desegregated. But what about Diamond?

He was arrested over 30 times in his life for continued dedication to civil rights. Diamond made it clear: age isn’t a barrier to challenging white supremacy or standing up for one's rights.

Like Diamond, we must fight white supremacy even if it means taking a risk. And our actions might even inspire someone else in our community to take a stand!


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