City To Commemorate 60th Anniversary Of Tallahassee Bus Boycott

May 19, 2016

Credit Florida Memory

In several states, protests that sparked the civil rights movement involved political figures and activists like Martin Luther King Jr.

However, this isn't the case for the Tallahassee Bus Boycott.

Almost 60 years ago, two female Florida A and M students sparked protests when they refused to move to the back of a segregated bus. Soon after, other students joined in a boycott against the bus system.

"Here you had students just going to college and then feeling such a sense of purpose to risk being arrested," says retired Tallahassee Community College Professor Shauna Smith.

She is the daughter of the late Charles Smith, who was a FAMU professor and activist during the boycott.

"Here are these students feeling so compelled that we've got to make a statement. Things have got to change."

On WFSU's Perspective's podcast Thursday, she remembers how the boycott affected her childhood.

"I never thought about, 'I'm black,'" she says. "It was just a part of my world. But with (the boycott) that did change my shift. Okay, I am different. There are issues with my skin color."

There will be a panel and symbolic walk to honor these women and the Tallahassee civil rights protests at FAMU next Thurday.

For more information and registration, click here.