Three years before he became the first black man to play in major league baseball, and more than a decade before Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat, Jackie Robinson had a Rosa Parks moment of his own. Lieutenant Robinson, as he was known in 1944, was serving in the U.S. Army at one of the worst posts for black men — Camp Hood. Located outside of Waco, Texas, the area’s residents were infamously hostile to servicemen of color.
On the evening of July 6, Lieutenant Robinson boarded a Southwestern Bus Company bus and took a seat next to a fellow officer’s fair-skinned wife, who was in fact African American. The driver believed the woman was white and, this being 1944, told Robinson to get to the back. Robinson, whose military career had been exemplary up that point, refused to move and told the driver to focus on his driving instead.