Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues

by Harriette Gillem Robinet

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What was Alfa's idea when the white boys threaten to beat him up and steal his money in Walking to the Bus-Fider Blues?

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Alfa first safeguards his money, tying it securely in a handkerchief and placing it deep in his pocket.  He then finds out what the white boys' names are, and stands up to them, catching them off-guard by greeting them in an attitude of friendship and love.

In trying to decide how to best save his money and avoid a beating, Alfa remembers the words he has been taught, inspired by Reverend Martin Luther King - "Walk the walk and talk the talk in the manner of love...Win them over, don't win over them".  He considers that in order to "walk the walk", he should hold his head high instead of hiding his face as he did the first time he encountered the boys.  To "talk the talk", Alfa learns the boys' names from a familiar customer at the store where he works.  When the white boys accost him, Alfa greets them in a neighborly manner, addressing them directly and making friendly conversation.  The boys, who had expected either an attitude of submission or of belligerence from Alfa, are "dumbfounded".  Not knowing how to react, they do nothing, and let Alfa pass by unmolested - Alfa, through his actions, has "won them over" (Chapter 3).


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