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Houston woman tells story of taking stand during civil-rights movement

Getrudejane Stone took stand on train in December 1955

HOUSTON – The name Rosa Parks and her refusal in December 1955 to give up her bus seat are synonymous with the civil-rights movement.

Less well known is that later during the same month, Houston native Getrudejane Stone made a similar stand.

"Back then, times were so unjust," Stone said. "Something had to happen."

After graduating from Yates High School, Stone attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

On a train ride back to Houston for the holidays, Stone was ordered to move to the all-black "Jim crow" section, but refused.

"A city policeman boarded the train to arrest me, but I continued to sit," Stone said.

At another point, Stone's belongings were confiscated, and she said she was harassed by several men along the train ride.

But she continued to sit, even refusing to go to the restroom.

"I knew I was right, so I should not have to go to a particular seat in a particular coach," Stone said. "I had the right to sit on the train wherever I wished."

Stone's name and her stand on that train in 1955 may not be a well-known story, but she moved back to Houston and was able to call her own shots and live a life of freedom -- free to write her own legacy for the next generation.

"When they hear the name of Getrtrudjane Holliday Stone, I want them to say, 'That was a lady that really tried to do her very best for her community and her fellow man.'"

After returning to Houston with her husband, Stone was was married for 60 years and raised a family here. 
She became a teacher, spent more than 20 years with the Houston public library system and did 10 years of volunteer work with United Way.


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