Monday, May 29, 2006

Two dimes on a city bus
bought cultural upheaval

Reverend C. K. Steele (left) and Reverend Dan Speed protested segregated seating on Tallahassee city buses by sitting in the middle instead of at the back. This ended a boycott of nearly seven months, brought on by the arrest of two FAMU students for sitting beside a white woman.

Fifty years ago, two college students refused to sit in the back of a Tallahassee bus.

Three female Florida A&M University students boarded a crowded bus for downtown. All three paid their dime fares. One walked to the back of the bus, where Southern tradition held that blacks sat.

But Wilhelmina Jakes and Carrie Patterson sat beside a white woman, who didn't protest. But driver Max Coggins ordered the black women to the rear. They refused -- but offered to disembark if their fares were refunded.

Coggins refused. Instead, he drove to a nearby service station and called police.

Jakes and Patterson were arrested and charged with placing themselves "in position to incite a riot." They were released to the custody of the FAMU dean of students. One night later, a cross was burned on their lawn.

For the failure of a bus driver to refund 20 cents, Tallahassee's civil-rights movement began.

The Tallahassee Democrat takes an in-depth look and even offers an apology for its own opposition to integration. Check it out here.


At 7:58 PM, Blogger da rattler said...

Great blog. Great piece on the Tallahasse Bus Boycott. I wrote a research paper about this many moons ago in high school.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Jacqueline Dowd said...

Dunno if you picked up on this, but I'm a professor at the FAMU law school. I linked to Rattler Nation.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Anonymous Law Student said...

Good piece indeed. First time I've heard about this particular part of the movement for integration..

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Jacqueline Dowd said...

This happened in Tallahassee about 6 months after Rosa Parks refused to move to the rear of the bus.

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 11:48 PM, Blogger Jacqueline Dowd said...

I delete only spam comments.

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