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Sharing History

The "I have a dream" speech still brings tears to the eyes of a Tallahassee minister every time she hears it. Bernyce Clausell walked alongside C.K. Steele and others as they waged bus boycotts and sit-ins in Tallahassee in the 50's and 60's.

Reverend Bernyce Clausell remembers those days like they were yesterday. A great great grandmother now, she vividly remembers the first time she dared to walk in to a "whites only" restroom.

"So I went in there and looked around and everything. It looked ok, nothing wrong with the restroom, so I said, 'Oh, this is nonsense' and the water? It's just water, it's the same water," says Rev. Clausell.

Clausell shared her stories with young and old at services Sunday stressing the high cost paid by black Americans fighting for equality.

"Were you ever afraid when you were doing these things?"

"Not really. I felt like I was surrounded by angels you know. I was never afraid, really, not afraid. I may have been a little apprehensive, you know, because I wasn't crazy, but I wasn't really afraid, no," Rev. Clausell says.

She stands just 4’11”, now 87 year old, a reminder that sometimes the "loudest" voices for change aren't loud at all. They're steady and sincere.

Bernyce participated in sit-ins at the Woolworth lunch counter in Tallahassee and helped to integrate the old "Duval Hotel" on Monroe Street. She encourages anyone who lived through that era to share their stories with young people.


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