Essay on A Seat On The Bus

1474 Words 6 Pages
A Seat on the Bus
Power is a central dynamic in the writing of history. It influences the content of this history we know and the way it is delivered. Power dictates what is taught and what is silenced, what is available and what is erased (Martin & Nakayama, 2010).

In 1955, the American South was run by strict laws called “Jim Crow”. These state and local laws enforced a system of white supremacy that discriminated against citizens of color in the southern United States. Jim Crow mandated racial segregation and gave African Americans “separate but equal” status in society. These rules were a continuation of the “Black Codes” which previously restricted the civil rights of African Americans by requiring the segregation of public places, like restaurants and restrooms, as well as public schools and public transportation.

In Montgomery, Alabama, the bus system way a daily reminder of racial segregation. Over one-third of the passengers were African American citizens who used public transportation everyday as their primary access to work and school. The segregated public bus was divided into sections with the first ten seats assigned to whites, and the remaining twenty-six available to blacks. If there were no whites on the bus, and the rear was at capacity, African Americans were forced to stand in the aisle and stare at the empty seats in the white section. This became a daily reminder of the role of blacks during this time in our cultural society; whites were viewed as…

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