Lucille Times, Who Inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dies at 100Breaking News
tags: obituaries, civil rights, montgomery bus boycott
Lucille Times, whose encounter with a bus driver in Montgomery, Ala., in June 1955 led her to begin a one-woman boycott of the city’s public transportation, an act of defiance that inspired a mass boycott six months later after another Black woman, Rosa Parks, was charged with defying the same bus driver, died on Aug. 16 at the home of her nephew Daniel Nichols. She was 100.
Mr. Nichols, with whom she had been living for several years, said the cause was complications of Covid-19.
Mrs. Times was driving to the dry cleaners on June 15, 1955, when she got into an altercation with James Blake, the bus driver, who tried to push her car off the road three times. She continued on her errand, but he followed her.
Parking his bus across the street, he ran over to her and yelled, “You Black son of a bitch!” she recalled in a 2017 interview.
She immediately replied, “You white son of a bitch!” and the two started fighting. At one point she bit him on the arm.
Suddenly she felt a blow to her neck. She looked down and saw the high boots of a motorcycle police officer, who had hit her with his flashlight.
The officer took Mr. Blake aside, then turned to her.
“‘Do you know that was a white man you called a white son of a bitch?’” she recalled him saying. “I said, ‘Do you know I’m a Black woman that he called a Black son of a bitch?’”
The officer let her off with a warning, telling her that if she had been a man, he would have “beat my head to jelly,” she said.
Mrs. Times drove away, furious. “My blood was almost boiling,” she said. “I didn’t even take my clothes into the dry cleaners.”
At home her husband, Charlie, had already heard about the incident. Together they called E.D. Nixon, the head of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter, and asked what they could do. He came over that night.