Interview with Rufus Lewis
QUESTION 15
INTERVIEWER:

THAT'S REAL GOOD. THAT'S A REAL GOOD ANSWER. WE'RE INTO ABOUT A HUNDRED FEET AT THIS POINT. IT'S 100 FEET REMAINING IN THIS CAMERA ROLL. CAN YOU DESCRIBE FOR US THE SEGREGATED BUS SYSTEM THAT UPSET ROSA PARKS AND OTHER BLACKS? WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?

Rufus Lewis:

Yes, I think I can describe the bus system that upset Mrs. Parks. Because I've been here all my life. And the segregated bus system operated that, when blacks want to get on the bus, they would enter a kind of a back, a side door, getting in. And they would sit from the back, about half-way, or as much as they could, near half-way, or as much as they could, near half-way, from the back to the front. Whites get on, they get on the front of the bus, they would sit from the front to mid-way the back, or as much as they need, much seating as they needed. So, that was the situation that existed and had been existing for years. The blacks get on in the back and the whites get on in the front. The blacks sit down from the back up, and the whites sit down from the front back. Now, that was not the law, except, that was what they insisted that you must do. And I think was a – an undesirable thing for some people, because they figured if they paid their fare, they ought to be able to sit anywhere they want to. And I think this was the feeling of Mrs. Parks when she got on the bus. She didn't got to the back. She got on at the front. And she went through the front in a certain area, and sit down in the front area, front section. And the bus driver ordered her up. And this is when she refused to get up. Because she figured she paid her fare, then she had a right to sit anywhere she want. That is the way I see the bus situa—-situation during that time.