icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


"I'm glad I was able to help unlock another door of freedom."
— Sarah Keys Evans

More than 60 years ago—on August 2, 1952—SARAH KEYS EVANS took a stand against injustice when she was arrested, in her Army uniform, for not moving to the back of a bus in North Carolina.
Her story is told in TAKE A SEAT—MAKE A STAND
Sarah Keys Evans ( then in her early 20s), stood up for her rights and, with help from her father and a young woman lawyer, Dovey Roundtree, won a remarkable victory three years later against race-based seating on interstate buses at the ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission), a ruling which was announced in late November 1955, ONE WEEK before Rosa Parks made her stand against discrimination on public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama.
Thank you, Sarah Keys Evans, for helping to lead the way!
Sarah Keys Evans celebrated her 91st birthday last April!

Sarah Keys Evans in 2006 when she received a Trailblazer Award from the U.S. Department of Justice

This book for young people tells of Sarah Keys Evans, an unsung Civil Rights hero, who, as a young woman in the Women’s Army Corps in the summer of 1952, did what Rosa Parks did—three years before Rosa Parks.

Arrested in 1952 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina—while in her Army uniform—for refusing to move to the back of a bus she was taking to go from her Army base in New Jersey to her childhood home in North Carolina for a family visit, Sarah Keys Evans found a way to stand up for her rights and managed to achieve a remarkable victory: A ruling by the ICC in 1955 that effectively outlawed race-based seating in inter-state transportation. Her ICC ruling was announced in newspapers around the nation just one week before Rosa Parks took her historic stand on a local bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

It would take many more protests and legal maneuvers before the Jim Crow era finally ended. But Sarah Keys Evans played an important part in helping to crumble the walls of that shameful time in our nation’s history.

Unfortunately, her story has been overlooked by most books on the Civil Rights movement. This book aims to correct that oversight.

Her story is especially important for young people because of the lessons it illustrates—that it’s not just famous people who make history, that in troubled times ordinary people can step up and accomplish amazing things. Her story also shows that change is a step-by-step process. Mrs. Evans’s contribution was one step in the right direction that helped prepare the way for other steps that would follow later, to help bring about big shifts in attitudes and laws. As Mrs. Evans showed, an individual can indeed make a difference!

"Take A Seat, Make A Stand is an inspiring book of a young woman’s audacity and her act of civil disobedience that changed the way Americans are treated today."
New Moon magazine

Sarah Keys Evans in her Women's Army Corps uniform around the time she was arrested for not moving to the back of a bus in North Carolina, after boarding the bus near Fort Dix in New Jersey where she was stationed.
Text file (2.4 MB)