The strangest thing happened to me on my way to my first job. I didn’t know the meaning of it for a very long time. My first full-time job was like Peace Corps; it was with Methodist Missions. I was to be a hospital dietitian and instructor in the nurses’ training school in Chihuahua, Mexico. When I was in a bus station in El Paso, Texas (year 1962), there were two washrooms to choose from – one said Ladies and one said Women.
I asked myself, what’s the difference? So I simply started into one of them. A white lady came running up to me and said, “My dear, you don’t have to go in that restroom.” I looked back at her and said, “Yes, I do. I do really have to go.” When I got in there, there were several black women in front of the mirrors, and they looked at me like they were shocked. I ignored them and did what I had to do. Much later I realized I had experienced and defied Jim Crow discrimination.