Ohlone College
Creative Writing Stories

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% Playing the Percentages %


July 27, 1967
The Detroit Free Press 
by Susan Mountain

A city bus ran over and killed 36-year-old Polish immigrant Shirley Cogswell yesterday. A blazing #8 city bus slammed into the victim as she stepped out in front of it, apparently unaware.

Eyewitnesses at the scene said the bus driver screamed "Git out the way, white bitch!" at the victim before mowing her down. "That lady got smashed flat as a manhole cover!" said Camille Pickens, who witnessed the accident. "She walked off the curb like she didn't have a care in the world," said Pickens, "That bus just smacked inta her and knocked her halfa block up the street, then just kept goin' and ran over her without even slowin' down. It was horrible!"

Rosa Parks said on WJBK TV news, "I am sorry this happened, but Shirley Cogswell's death is regrettably just collateral damage in our fight against racial injustice and the pursuit of Martin's Dream."


Shirley's dream for a better life in America ended abruptly because she could not understand a word that the bus driver screamed at her. Rosa Parks's TV eulogy did not include a word about the unwilling martyr's husband Viktor or teenage son Stanley being "collateral damage."

She should have.


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