10

SUNDAY

When 18-year-old Ruby Doris Robinson ventured into Rock Hill, S.C., in 1961, it was with the sole intention of getting arrested. She and three other Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee activists had come to sit in at Good’s Drug Store. The morning of their arrest, they woke up very early, said a quiet prayer, and silently dressed for the chain gang and crowded cells that lay ahead. Just when they were ready to go, Robinson issued a bold statement: “Well, everybody can just sort of sit down and do whatever because my hair is not right. And I’m rolling it, and I’m not leaving until it’s curled.” And that’s just what they did. Before she died six years later, Robinson became one of the civil rights movement’s most influential leaders, the “heartbeat of SNCC.” Although you have to climb over a ridiculous pedestal to get to it, Cynthia Griggs Fleming’s new biography, Soon We Will Not Cry, tells her rich story. Ella Baker—Joanne Grant’s biography of the SNCC founder—does the same. Both authors will be signing copies at 4 p.m. at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Amanda Ripley)

More from WCP