Letters to the Museum

Back of the Bus

My Mother was born in 1925, she turned 80 this year and I have started to get her to talk about things she did when she was little. She told me a story about the summer after she graduated high school. Before starting Nurses training she wanted to visit a city that always facinated her -- New Orleans. She took her younger sister with her and hitch-hiked from Peoria, Illinois. Along the way someone gave them enough money to take a bus the rest of the way. When they got to Arkansas they were told they could no longer ride in the back of the bus and that they had to go up front. I said "no Mom you mean they made the blacks go to the back." She did not see it that way. She has always felt that she was the one that was discriminated against because the back of the bus or the back of the church was where the fun was. She also claims that the bathrooms for the blacks were much more available and cleaner than the bathrooms for the whites. Amazing how we see things differently. Just thought you might be interested.

Paula S. Neils

-- Oct. 13, 2005


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