Seven decades before Rosa Parks became famous, another African-American woman refused to give up her seat on public transportation. In 1884, teacher Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) demurred when a train conductor ordered her to move from the first-class ladies car into the ‘Jim Crow’ car. She was dragged from her seat by 3 men (biting one of them in the process), and subsequently sued the railroad for denying her the first-class accommodation she had paid for. She won $500 in damages, but the verdict was later overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Wells wrote about the case for the newspapers, launching her into a new career as a journalist and civil rights activist.
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