Women’s Army Corps member who refused to give up bus seat in 1952 honored with plaza, murals


ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. — A North Carolina woman whose refusal to go to the back of a bus in 1952 led to a lawsuit that sparked a change in law is being honored with a special day.

Sarah Keys Evans was being honored by the city of Roanoke Rapids on Saturday with a plaza bearing her name and murals depicting her arrest, news outlets reported. Evans, who is Black and lives in Brooklyn, New York, was expected to address the event by telephone.

Evans was on leave from the U.S. Army Women’s Army Corps when she boarded a bus from Trenton, New Jersey, to Washington, North Carolina. When the bus stopped in Roanoke Rapids on Aug. 2, 1952, Evans refused the request of the bus driver to move to the back and was arrested.

Keys was fined $25 for disorderly conduct. She filed a complaint, which three years later resulted in an Interstate Commerce Commission ruling prohibiting segregation on interstate buses.

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