Man's true story of bus boycott leaves students stunned

ATLANTA -- It is first thing in the morning, and Yolanda Everett is pushing her Sandtown Middle School students to name people with integrity.

"Teacher," says one. "Judge," calls out another. One girl raises her hand. "Martin Luther King demonstrated integrity."

"Sure did," says Everett.

The lesson today is personal and centers around this book, written by Everett.

"My book is about 10-year-old Peter. He's growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955."

The book is nonfiction. The Peter in 'Peter and the Boycott' is Everett's real life dad, Charles Peter Everett, and it tells his story of the Montgomery bus boycott from his child's point of view.

Today is an amazing day, because Charles Everett is standing in front of his daughter's class, the boy from the book made real.

"There were many feelings, but the one thing was we were all in this together. I wasn't doing this by myself," he tells the students.

The book tells how in 1955, Montgomery residents refused to ride the buses for a solid year after Rosa Parks was arrested.

Yolanda Everett reads aloud to her class: "'Her friend responded, what do you mean not ride the buses? How else am I going to get to work?'"

Real Peter learned to walk everywhere, and it was something these students were eager to ask him about.

"How many miles did you usually have to walk?" one asks the senior Everett.

The answer was six miles, but the other answer was that the walking showed Peter that he had power: "All I needed to do was tell my foot, let's go. Those were my only weapons."

That and staying in school -- this son of the boycott would go on to be the assistant superintendent of Montgomery schools..

"The first Charles Everett was a slave. The fourth Charles Everett is standing in front of you right now," Everett tells the students. "Have integrity. Stand up for what's right. If you see someone being mistreated, just don't stand by. Do something. Act."

For more information, or to buy a copy of "Peter and the Boycott," click here.


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