Jakes and Patterson: 'Foot Soldiers for Change'
On May 26,1956, Wilhelmina Jakes and Carrie Patterson, two Florida A&M students, boarded a congested, but public Tallahassee bus. They sat next to a white woman in a three-passenger seat behind the bus driver.
After being condemned by the bus driver and the local police for refusing to give up their seats, they were arrested.
Shortly after word reached FAMU's campus and a cross was burned in front of the ladies' apartment on Jennings Street,
Jakes, then 26, and Patterson, then 20, were charged with "placing themselves in a position to incite a riot." Students then began a 10-month boycott of Tallahassee's public bus system.
In celebration of Black History Month, the Black Archives has a display featuring the two women credited with pioneering the bus boycott in Tallahassee.
The display is part of an exhibit dedicated to women who have made a major impact on the African-American community.
Rudi McFarlane, a 20-year-old psychology student and black archive tour-guide, helped set up the exhibit.
"I learned about the initiatives of Jakes and Patterson about a year ago when I first started working at the archives," McFarlane said.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the bus boycott in 2006, the university hosted a two-day celebration recognizing both women. City Commissioner Bill Proctor served as the coordinator of the Tallahassee Christian Leadership Council.
"Depending on your age and what all you remember, the celebration gave a sense of relief to the deeply personal issue that many had endured," said Proctor.
He described the event as the community embracing "the actions of those affected by segregation." He also said that it was "a noble event instead of an act of infamy and it gave people a sense of self-esteem."
Students and faculty who took part in the boycott were arrested and fined for conducting "illegal carpools." Eventually, charges were dropped but the arrests did not stop.
In 2009, Tallahassee residents marched to Jennings Street and demanded that the street be renamed Jakes & Patterson to commemorate the "foot soldiers for change." The Leon County Board of County Commissioners voted on changing the street's name where the women shared an apartment.
FAMU has placed a land marker on the "Set" which sits in front of the Office of Student Activities with a quick memoir of Jakes' and Patterson's outstanding act of bravery.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More The Famuan News Articles
Recent The Famuan News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR THE FAMUAN NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST THE FAMUAN NEWS
- Fashion event helps freshmen transition to campus culture
- Alumnus restores 'Jake' Gaither's home
- FAMU to welcome eleventh president on founder's day
- Feature Photo: Building for Founder's Day
- FAMU Athletics to reveal North End Zone Club at Bragg
- TCC faculty showcase art in exhibition
- FAMU welcomes seven into Sports Hall of Fame
RECENT THE FAMUAN CLASSIFIEDS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Wondering if it's Time to Buy a New Car? Just Check Your...
- Smartphone to Become Wallet -- Are Customers, Businesses...
- Grandparents, Keep Your Meds Up and Away From Young Children
- As Insurers End Coverage for Compounded Drugs, Patients...
- 4 Tips to Start Your Day a Little Earlier
- Join the Force to Fight Lung Cancer in Women
- If You Want to Help Avoid Back Problems, Stop Slouching
- Common-Sense Strategies From a Natural Marketing Guru
- 10 Steps to Help Older Adults Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
- Stay Cool for Next to Nothing: Power Down the AC on...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Peace Corps Director Calls on College Students to Make a Difference After Graduation Through International Service
- USA NETWORK AND VERIZON LAUNCH THE “CHARACTERS UNITE COLLEGE TOUR” COMPETITION FOR STUDENTS TO BRING A USA NETWORK CELEBRITY AND A WORTHY CAUSE TO THEIR CAMPUS
- WHEN GEORGIA SMILED: THE ROBIN MCGRAW REVELATION FOUNDATION TEAMS WITH PIVOT AND STUDENTS OF THE WORLD TO LAUNCH THE #iASPIRE GRANT CONTEST
- Latino Groups Launch National Campaign to Deliver Record Latino Turnout for 2014 Midterm Elections
- The Power of Peer Support: Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" Hits Campuses