What is the summary of Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues by Harriette Gillem Robinet?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Young Alpha Maerryfield, who is tall for his age and so looks older to people than his twelve years, is the second child in an African-American home in Montgomery, Alabama. He works at a grocery store job that he found and landed all on his own. His earnings go toward paying the rent for himself, his sister and their great-grandmother. Alpha's life is miserably complicated when not only is he accused of stealing but someone is actually stealing from him, taking the treasured rent money from it's hiding place.

The Montgomery bus boycott of 1956 is the framework for the story. Alpha's life is shown in the reflection of the boycott so that the boycott's effect on his family is clearly demonstrated. Alpha, sometimes spelled by others as Alfa, writes a song to sing called "the Alabamy bus-rider blues," the lyrics of which he varies to "a bad case of rent money blues" once the thefts start occurring. Since he has the clear example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., before him, Alpha commits himself to peaceful responses to white supremacy, evidence of which is rampant because of the socially charged bus boycott. Alpha approaches life as a scientist and future doctor and, with determination, puts his mind to finding out who is stealing from his family and to clearing his family's good name of the abhorrent label "thief."

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Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues

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