In 1900, Montgomery, Alabama passed a city ordinance for the purpose of segregating bus passengers by race
Conductors had the power to assign seats to accomplish that purpose; however, no passengers would be required to move or give up their seat and stand if the bus was crowded and there were no other seats available.
Over time Montgomery bus drivers adopted the practice of requiring black riders to move or stand for whites.
Blacks had the right to stay seated but they had no institutional support for exercising that right.
In the South, when Blacks asserted any of their rights under Federal law, the result was often arrest, beatings or murder.
“When he (the driver) saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to…
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