Marian Pierce

Managing Fear

For the last two years, the same home health care aide has come every Friday afternoon to help me out. She’s 22, quiet, mature and sharp. She’s enrolled at Portland Community College, taking the prerequisites to become a dental hygienist, and I sometimes talk to her about her classes (she dislikes taking class online), or about what I’m writing. Today, I told her my goal is to write a post about Diane Nash every day this month, and she asked, “Who is that?”

I played a short clip I found on my phone: Managing Fear. In it, Nash talks about how, in 1960, she was chairperson of the lunch counter sit-in movement and her job as chairperson was to walk from one store to another where there were sit-ins.

“As I was walking, there were five or six young white guys with leather jackets, who were exactly the kind to attack us. One of them said to his friend, ‘That’s Diane Nash. She’s the one to get.’ And I became just overcome with fear. And for the next few minutes, I realized that my mind was on my own fear, preventing me from being effective. So I decided to give myself a time limit. At the end of that time period I would either have gotten myself together enough so that I can do my job well, or I

would go back to the church which was our headquarters and resign. And in that time I was able to get it together and function.”

 

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Marian Pierce