Seven years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, 61 year old Samuel Mason Bacon was removed from a bus at Fort Gibson, Mississippi by Town Marshall Stanton D. Coleman and taken into police custody. Authorities claimed he was causing a disturbance, but his real transgression was calmly refusing to give up his seat to a white passenger when other free seats were available. That night in Fayette jail, he was shot to death by Coleman. A grand jury refused to indict. Nearly seventy years later, CRRJ’s investigation sought to work with Bacon’s family and shed light on the truth behind the official narrative.
This episode is narrated by Professor Michael Meltsner of Northeastern University School of Law. Writing and production by CRRJ Research Associate Fraser Grier, based on the investigative fieldwork of former CRRJ student Mary Nguyen.