From journalist Jennifer Young of the Winston-Salem Journal:
The time was the late 1940s, the place Greensboro. A mother had sent her two young sons to the neighborhood grocery. A gang of local toughs waited just outside the store. One came at the older brother from the front, one from the back and the third went for the money in the boy’s pocket.
The younger brother, who was only 6, stood back while his sibling managed to fight off the young would-be robbers. The little fellow took it all in, though, and came away with some very important life lessons: Be prepared to defend yourself. Show no fear.
Those were lessons that Clarence Henderson carried with him years later, on Feb. 2, 1960, when he walked through the door of 132 S. Elm St. in Greensboro and sat down to his place in his town’s –- and his nation’s – history.
And they’re lessons he remembers today as he proclaims a philosophy that sometimes raises eyebrows, even among those who consider him a hero for what he did 53 years ago.
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