East Texan Recalls Riding Back Of Bus

Brenda Williams in her own words:

"I used to ride the bus to Houston to visit my sister and it was segregated then. The blacks sat in the back and we knew that's where we had to go that's where we went and nothing was said about it. You could not feel the air conditioning it was hot back there. Buses were air-conditioned at that time, but it was warmer in the back than it was in the front. They even had a restroom back there that we were not allowed to use. I remember in Mt. Enterprise they had the trailway buses, they would come through and stop and if you needed a ticket you didn't come through the front to get a ticket you had to go to the back to get a ticket. The same ticket that everybody else used to ride the bus, the same price, it's just the idea that you were black and you had to go around the back to the side to get a ticket. And when you get on the bus, even though it was loaded with other people, even though there were seats on the front and the back was crowded you had to stand up until you found a seat. We were all sitting there on the bus and these two little white girls, they were my age 10 or 11, they decided to sit in the back and sit back there. And they were having fun, laughing and talking, and nobody was bothering them. And I remember the bus driver pulling over and saying you two girls come on up here to the front. And they said, 'We're ok, we want to sit back here.' He says, 'No come on up here to the front.' So they got up and went to the front and nobody said anything.

"I think Rosa Parks had a major influence on this. I was afraid for her. I said why didn't she just go on and sit where she was supposed to sit, you know it frightened me! I was frightened for her because I was used to following rules. I said, 'You mean she didn't get up when she was supposed to?', because I was young. It really didn't dawn on me what she was trying to do and what she was trying to get done. I don't regret what she did. I'm thankful that she did and there was a reason why she did it. And I think God was in the plan for that. Now you can just go where you want and you don't look back. I don't want to look back. I want to go forward."

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com