Eyes on the Past

When Bernard LaFayette Jr. boarded a bus to Montgomery, Ala., 46 years ago, he did not stow his suitcase underneath. Part of an early group of Freedom Riders, he was challenging Jim Crow laws and expected to meet violence and chaos. The least he could do to prepare, he says, was keep his suitcase with him.

Just after sunrise on a Saturday late last month, four buses idle by the curb as passengers, black and white, gather on Vanderbilt Street. They place their luggage in the lower