Skip to main content

martin luther king

One Man’s March When Jim Crow Laws Were in Full Force

I long thought that my husband, Forrest, should write his story for this column, but since he passed away recently, the task falls to me. I’ll try to tell his story and a little bit of my own.

The old man smoking a cigar looked like Winston Churchill

In the 1950s and ’60s I had the good fortune to live in New York City, right across from Riverside Park. Our 325-acre back yard offered sledding in winter, and for the rest of the year I could race my Schwinn throughout the park.
January 11 Surgeon General Luther L. Terry releases his report on cigarette smoking. January 16 Hello, Dolly! opens at the St. James Theater in New York City.

Viewing a transformation that still affects all of us—through the prism of a single year

It has been called the “burned-over decade,” a “dream and a nightmare,” the “definitive end of the Dark Ages, and the beginning of a more hopeful and democratic period” in American history.

Fifty years ago this December, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus she was riding. Because she wouldn’t, the whole country has changed. But what happened to the bus?

  We can only imagine what James F. Blake must have been thinking when he pulled his bus into the yard of the Montgomery Bus Lines at the end of his run on December 1, 1955. For the most part, it had been a routine day’s work, but that one incident where the black woman had refused to move to the back of the bus had to have been infuriating. Still, Blake had done what he thought he was supposed to do, and the police had come and taken her off to jail.   the henry ford, dearborn, mich.2005_6_60

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.

Donate