Interview with Virginia Durr


Virginia Durr:

Well the buses you see were segregated in a, in this manner. If you were black, you got on in the front and paid your money, then you had to get off and run around and enter the back. And then you seated from the back the blacks did, the whites seated from the front. But when they got to that sort of indeterminate area in the middle of the bus where, then the blacks were supposed to get up and move back and it was that, uh after they'd paid their money. And it was that that was made her so angry. And it was that here she would pay her money and get on the bus and after a long day's work and then the driver would just turn back and say "Nigger move back." Well she felt it was very humiliating and degrading and also, she's a very gentle woman but it made her very, very, angry. And uh, she never plotted a plan on this particular day to uh defy the law, as it was, but she was just absolutely worn out with uh doing it, getting up and giving somebody her seat, so she refused. And uh, she uh, was arrested and taken to jail and uh, then Mr. Nixon who was head of the NAACP, he was a great friend to Mrs. Parks and a great friend of my husband's and mine too, he called my husband and said that he called down to the jail and uh they said she was arrested but they wouldn't tell him what she'd been arrested for. So I uh, he, he said he'd come by and take uh, my husband down to the jail and they'd see if they could get her out. And, now the lawyer for the NAACP was Fred Grey who was a very bright young fellow who had just graduated from Ohio State, but he was out of town. So then Mr. Nixon called my husband who was friendly. And uh, we went down to the jail and uh, and they, Mr. Nixon paid her bond and uh Mr. Doug got her out of, you know, legal, whatever it was that she had to sign. And uh she was arrested for breaking the segregation law of, you know, the city. And, now this was not a state law, it was a city law. And so uh we took her home, she came down behind the bars with the matron, you know, holding on to her, she wasn't in uh handcuffs, and we came and took her home and she told my husband then that she uh wanted to take the case up to the Supreme Court. And uh so he told her well it's gon cost a fortune and you gon have to get the NAACP to pay for it. So uh they did get the NAACP to pay for it and uh Judge uh Carter from here in Boston who is a federal judge came down from the NAACP to uh help Fred Grey on the case, but my husband also helped em too. He worked on the case although he wasn't on record. But the Judge uh Carter um, is a very, do you know him?