In 1865, according to Captain Jackson Price, the town of Blakely housed a Colonel Ezekiel John Smith, who was a seventy-year-old doctor in service to the Confederate army. Price had been asked by Colonel Jubal Eustace to discover what "Doctor John Smiths" the Confederacy had engaged, and this Alabamian was the only one Price could find. (PROSE: Blood and Hope)
By at least 1943, a system of racial segregation was in place in Alabama. Black people and Mexicans were often forced to use separate facilities from the whites. In the city of Montgomery, black people had to enter and sit at the back of buses. When Rosa Parks entered at the front and attempted to question the system, she was forced to get off the bus. Trying to enter through the back door, the driver instead drove off without her.
Racial segregation was still in place by 1955, along with constant violent racism. When Ryan Sinclair attempted to hand a dropped glove back to a passerby, Lizzie Steele, her husband ordered him to keep his "filthy black hands" off her, and alluded to the practice of lynching were he to disturb a white woman in Montgomery. Ryan was denied service at Slim's Bar for being a "negro" as well as Yasmin Khan, who was of Pakistani heritage but misidentified as Mexican. Police Officer Mason searched the Sahara Springs Motel and warned the Thirteenth Doctor and Graham O'Brien that it was a criminal offence to harbour a "coloured" person on segregated premises.
On 1 December 1955, while travelling home from work, civil rights activist Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her bus seat when the bus became crowded, leading to her arrest, an event that the Thirteenth Doctor, Ryan Sinclair, Yasmin Khan, and Graham O'Brien witnessed. Her arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and a further chain of events that would result in the abolition of segregation a year later. (TV: Rosa)