United Voice: ‘You’ll either move or I’ll get the bus driver,’ an emotional look back for one Oklahoma man

United Voice
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OKLAHOMA CITY- KFOR is thrilled to be part of a groundbreaking initiative.

For more than a year, KFOR has been organizing a project called “United Voice.

This is about promoting a healthy dialogue on race relations in Oklahoma City.

Here is a touching memory from Lieutenant Wayland Cubit with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Please watch and share this video.

“My grandmother has experiences that still resonate with me today.  My grandmother tells this story from 1942, where she was traveling with her newborn baby who happens to be my mother.

From Guthrie, Oklahoma to Sturgis, Kentucky. When she was traveling her mother-in-law and her mother saved up for her bus ticket so that she could go be with her husband in the military in Sturgis, Kentucky.

She gets on the Greyhound Bus in Guthrie, Oklahoma and she finds her seat, she gets in her position with her baby and all of her stuff for the trip and this white lady gets on the bus.

And as this white lady gets on the bus, she stands over her and tells her to give up her seat so that she can sit down.

My grandmother says, she just got settled, she paid for the seat, she wasn’t moving and she told the lady she was not going to move.

The lady said, “You’ll either move or I’ll get the bus driver.”

So the lady goes and gets the bus driver and the bus driver stands over my grandmother and tells my grandmother, “If you don’t get out of the seat and let this lady have it you’re going to have to get off the bus.”

My grandmother said I still wanted to fight and argue and not give up my seat, but I looked out of the window and saw my mother and mother in law there and I know how much they did to save the money for that ticket, so I decided to let the lady have my seat and not cause a ruckus.

She said, “I stood in the aisle of that bus for six hours, from Guthrie, Oklahoma to Chicago, Illinois holding my baby. Trying to manage my baby.”

She said somewhere around Chicago, a white lady in the front of the bus saw that my baby was crying and that I was trying to feed my baby and she offered to take the baby from me.

She said, I didn’t know the lady and I was scared, but I couldn’t do anything else about it, so I had to let the lady hold my child.

That was in 1942.

Probably about 10 years ago, 10 years ago, I’m on an American Airlines flight.

Sitting in my seat, got situated and a lady comes down the aisle and looks at me and she looks at her ticket and I start seeing and noticing that she’s got her eyes on my seat and I started getting anxious, started getting angry, started preparing my response and my response was simply going to be, this ain’t 1942.

I’m educated, I’m a police officer, I’ve paid for this seat, I’m not giving my seat up so you might as well find something else.

That was my feeling.

She goes and gets the flight attendant, the flight attendant and her [she] come back and approach.

They begin to examine our tickets and come to find out I was one row off where I should have been, so I had to get up and get in the correct seat, but then I started to identify the anxiety I was having was not the anxiety of having to give up my seat because I was in the wrong seat.

My anxiety was the experience my Grandmother had in 1942.

The residue of my Grandmother’s pain was living within me today.

Right and so as we do our police work we have to police in the context of our historical past right?

The police have not always treated people of color great and for us to police today as if nobody has experienced those things is kind of

a backward way of policing, because what my Grandmother experienced, she passed on to me, whether I wanted it or asked for it or not.

I wasn’t even part of it and I’m still feeling the pain of my Grandmother having to ride 6 hours standing up on a Greyhound Bus.”

United Voice Mission Statement: Bringing our local media outlets together to give Oklahoma a united voice in promoting a healthy dialogue on race.


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