The absolutely wild story from the civil rights movement you didn't hear in history class.

Lucille Times just wanted to get some dry cleaning done. She ended up a major part of forgotten United States history.

Countless people stood up, marched, and resisted during the civil rights movement. This is the story of one such woman so fed up with the BS that decided to do something about.

(And the end is absolutely bonkers!)


Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King leading a black voting rights march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery. Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images.

It’s June 15, 1955.

Lucille Times, a 33-year-old black woman living in Montgomery, Alabama, drove her Buick LeSabre to the dry cleaners. On the way, a Montgomery municipal bus driver attempted to run her car off the road.

Not once. Not twice. But three separate times.

“The bus driver got angry and tried to run me off the road and into a ditch,” Times told Troy Today.

GIF from "The Daily Show."

After the third attempt, Times pulled over.

She hoped the bus would pass and she could carry on. Instead, the bus driver pulled up behind her and got out. Times got out of her car too.

The driver and Times had a heated altercation, exchanging expletives. She says the confrontation even got physical at one point, so the bus driver called the police. When they arrived on the scene, the Montgomery Police were of little help to Times. They didn't arrest her, but after nearly killing her, the bus driver went unpunished.

Steaming mad and frustrated, Times called the city transportation department. The city never returned her call.

GIF from "Pretty Woman."

Fed up, Times went to the president of her NAACP unit. She wanted to start a bus boycott.

The president, E.D. Nixon, was a well-known union leader, strategist, and activist. He already had an idea for a bus boycott in the works and was looking for the perfect sympathetic plaintiff to be the face of the movement.

As empathetic to the cause as he was, he suggested Times wait to begin the boycott until after Thanksgiving so the city would lose out on fares from holiday shoppers. But that timeline didn’t suit Times. A veteran organizer herself, Times decided to go it alone. She started her boycott the next day.

GIF from "This Is Us."

Times got in her car and drove around the city. When she saw black people at the bus stop, she offered to pick them up and take them to their destination.

She was one woman in a Buick, so the impact was relatively small, but her purpose and passion were undeniable. Soon, a few other friends and neighbors with cars joined in to help. Their boycott went on for nearly six months.

GIF from "Laugh at My Pain."

Cut to Dec. 1, 1955: E.D. Nixon had finally found the perfect plaintiff for a potential bus boycott.

She was a seamstress and NAACP secretary trained in civil disobedience.  (Cough, cough, Rosa Parks, cough cough.)

After Thanksgiving, as planned, she sat down in the front of a Montgomery bus and refused to move. Parks' refusal and subsequent arrest triggered the official launch of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. E.D. Nixon got on the phone to find ministers and senior leaders in the church to help lead the effort. One person he called was Martin Luther King Jr. The rest of that story is 381 days of courage, grit, and U.S. history.

A man looking at a photograph of Rosa Parks at the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

But wait, there’s more. And it’s so, so good.

The driver of Rosa Parks’ bus was James Blake — the very same bus driver who tried to run Lucille Times off the road less than six months prior.

Wild, right?

In your face, bigots! GIF via Nickelodeon.

After the official launch of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Times continued to give rides to people in need.

She stepped up to serve in several capacities throughout the civil rights movement, providing space for organizers at the café she owned with her husband, as well as opening their home to NAACP meetings. She even marched the entire route from Selma to Montgomery, hosting 18 other marchers of all backgrounds at her home.

But while Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin made history books, Lucille Times is rarely mentioned.

However, the state of Alabama listed the Times’ home in the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in 2007, and a large marker stands there today. Lucille Times is still alive and in her mid-90s.

Photo of Lucille Times by R. Scott Golden/Wikimedia Commons.

Not too shabby for a woman who just wanted to pick up her dry cleaning.

Shoutout to Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings at The Nod podcast for telling Lucille's story on their show and bringing it to my attention.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.

When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.

Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.

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