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Two of the Same
I woke up that morning ‘round seven o’clock. It was a lovely day, no clouds in the sky and the birds were all chirpin’. Raymond and I had some scrambled eggs and toast before I had to head to the mart. Ray had to work at the barber for a few hours givin’ some wig chops. He was a true artist, never had he a customer who wasn’t pleased with his work. In fact, he could turn a bunch of bundies into the best lookin’ boys in town.
At ‘bout eight or so we walked ‘round the block to the hound stop where James Blake was waiting angrily on that driver’s seat of his. I don’t think that man has ever left that chair.
As I said my goodbyes to Ray, I headed onto the hound and took my seat, the third from the last to be exact. I chatted with the young woman next to me while the hound took route to the local plaza. When I got off at Cleveland Avenue, I was greeted by many who I had seen on the daily. They always said the same thing; “Hello, Mrs. Parks!”. The whites-with the exception of my neighbor, Monica- would just walk by and roll their eyes as usual.
I arrived at work ‘round eight forty-five. The day was slow. I didn’t have much to make. I mostly fixed up some old clothes that some coworkers asked for. Before I knew of it, I was back on that old, nasty hound with that old, nasty Blake. Gettin’ home wasn’t fun, never was. There was lots of twists and turns and them whites always glared at me, especially them kids. Those keepers teach those kids ‘bout us bein’ monsters, can’t even look us in our own damn eyes.
I got off the hound near the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. A good friend of mine named Martin helped manage a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People meetin’ every other week. I always went, and so did Ray, along with the majority of other negroes in the area. After a few minutes of walkin’ ‘round, I stepped into the church where Martin stood, lecturin’ a whole crowd, maybe twice as big as the last. He preached that the ways of God were no longer; that we must act ourselves or nothin’ would change for us.
After the meetin’, Ray and I walked home. Many of them whites stared and made rude remarks, things both of us were used to hearin’. We made our way home, served up a snack, and quickly fell asleep.
December 1, 1955
My twenty-first birthday began quite groggy. Clouds were plastered across the sky, not a spot of blue to be seen. Every bird was hidden in some tree along the street.
After I got dressed, I hobbled downstairs to greet my mother, hoping she did not forget about my special day.
“Happy birthday, baby!”, she declared after I pranced down the hall, “Have you thought about your special wish?”
“Yes, I have. I thought about the idea through day and night, and I have hope that it will stand through...I desire advancements throughout humanity, Mom.”
“What are you saying, sweetheart?”
“Why do we separate from those with darker skin tones? Why can we not sit near each other? Why do we not share schools? I do not understand, Mother. It is just something I desire...you know, equality.”
“Dearest, you are truly insane!”
After studying the country’s history, I understood that by law men, women, and children, black or white, should be treated with equal respect. I could not stand the fact that I was not allowed to share a water fountain with a negro.
I was determined to have an enjoyable day, so I headed to my car and twisted the key. My auto chuckled at me and turned down. Knowing I would now have to take the hound into the city, I dashed inside, grabbed my purse, and shot for the station.
When I boarded, I immediately recognized the driver, Mr. James Blake. He was an animal in the Klan. He hates those negroes, all of them. Blake was truly a disturbed, thoughtless man.
I relaxed in a seat near the negroes. At this time, the clouds began to separate and the birds began to soar the sky again. Looking through the air, I finally began to admire the outdoors. I was always so occupied with my studies, so at no time could I extol nature. Alabama was so beautiful, especially here in Montgomery. The only element that could have made our palace into a kingdom was love, something our city and country greatly lacked.
I stammered off the bus in a serene matter and said hello to my far neighbor, Mrs. Rosa Parks, who I assumed was on her way to the mart. She was always a friendly woman, especially to me. Never did that woman speak ill of anyone or anything, such a wonderful being.
The day was quiet, Wednesdays always were. I stopped in a few stores, including the mart where I saw Mrs. Parks sewing a beautiful flannel shirt. After my long day in town, I headed home.
Rosa was already at the hound stop when I arrived. She said hello, shot me a quick smile, and boarded the bus. When I finally decided to follow, I noticed a bird flying above the hound. All of a sudden, a larger bird, perhaps an eagle, swooped down and captured the smaller bird in his talons. The clouds began to push back together and the color of the sky went from azure to ash.
I hopped on the hound and looked around. There was one seat left in the front. As I went to sit there, I heard Mr. Blake call out to some negro women behind me. He said, “Move y’all, I want those two seats.” Three of the women moved, but Rosa sat silently.
December 1, 1955
“Are you going to stand up?”, that old Blake had said.
I could tell by lookin’ at the reflection in his mirror he was confused. That gruesome man didn’t know what to do. I’d give anythin’ to see that look on his face again.
“Well, I’m going to have you arrested.”
“You may do that.”
The bus was now mum. When I looked around, all eyes were on me and Blake. Back and forth, they took turns searchin’ to see what would happen next. Monica, who had spoken to me earlier, was seated in front of me. She was bein’ quite, like the rest, but she didn’t stare at anyone. Her eyes were glued to some book.
The police arrived five minutes later. I was guessin’ they was security guards. The tall one asked me some questions while the big one cuffed me.
They booked me when I got to the station. I was charged a couple of dollars and they gave me a warnin’. Told me If I had one more incident like that they’d never let me go.
December 2, 1955
After the authorities escorted Mrs. Parks off the hound yesterday, numerous negroes also exited. Many told Mr. Blake they would never board that hound again. At the time, I was not quite sure how others would react to this incident. The next day, however, there were few whites on the hound. I established that boarding would not be a good idea. A careful understanding of the situation was all that was needed, but it seemed that not many whites comprehended. All I understood was that this was only beginning.
It appears to me that my birthday wish has come true.