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Turbulent Montgomery, Alabama in the 1960’s: Alonzo Cephus’ Personal Account

by Unity Imani-ImoJah, Teacher

On February 25, 2015 in honor of Black History/African American Heritage Month, Alonzo Cephus, former Play Mountain Place parent and current Board Member, came to Mountain Yard to speak about his experience as a young person living in Montgomery, Alabama, during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and his family’s personal connection to Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement.

Alonzo’s description of his experience evoked many questions by students, including:

“Who decided the laws?”

“Why were Africans brought over here to make them slaves just because of their skin color?

“Did the white people try drinking out of the drinking fountains labeled For African Americans Only?”

“Why didn’t they want all the different colored people sitting together?”

“If all the African Americans had to sit in the back of the bus, they couldn’t all fit, right?”

At the end of the discussion, Alonzo mentioned we can’t do anything about the past, but we can have discussions like this, Multicultural Celebrations, and other activities to bring people together to make things better now and for the future, to which the children spontaneously applauded.

Photo Captions

Above: Cultural Studies Teacher Unity Imani-ImoJah shows photos of Rosa Parks at Play Mountain Place in 1995. Rosa Parks was invited by Alonzo Cephus and his family to attend our school’s African American History Celebration that year.

Some Mountain Yard students identify themselves as ages 8, 9, and 10, the same age Alonzo Cephus was during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Alonzo Cephus describes his experience as a young person living in Montgomery, Alabama, during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and his family connection to Rosa Parks. His mother was a good friend of Rosa Parks. Montgomery Bus Boycott strategy meetings were held at his grandmother’s house where he lived.

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