Nobody pressured her. Nobody dared her to do it. Her decision was hers to make.
On April 24, 1963, in a watershed moment in her life, Birmingham-Southern sophomore Martha “Marti” Turnipseed chose to join seven black students who were sitting in for justice at a segregated Woolworth’s food counter in downtown Birmingham.
Little did she know that Birmingham Police Commissioner Bull Conner had spying detectives everywhere. As soon as Marti returned to campus several hours later, she received an urgent summons to appear before college officials. The next day, the college’s acting president asked Marti to withdraw from school immediately.
It was a blow for the young woman, a third-generation BSC student who wrote that it was her dream to graduate from the same college as her father and grandfather, both Methodist ministers. But she knew that she had done the right thing—even if many on the Hilltop disagreed.