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Trailways Bus Station

"Me and my Mom used to go to the Trailways bus station to catch the bus to Durham ~ they had black, well it was "colored" back then, on one side and "white" on the other, and we had our place on the bus, we had our water fountains for coloreds and our bathrooms for coloreds, and we figured that's just the way its supposed to be until later when integration did come about, and we came into the knowledge that it's not supposed to be that way, everybody's supposed to be equal."

- Sheila Florence

The bus station built at 311 W. Franklin St. in 1946 has been known as the Trailways Bus Station, the Chapel Hill Bus Station, the Greyhound Bus Station, and the Union Bus Station. It was originally built as a segregated facility with separate entrances, waiting areas, and rest rooms for Black and white customers. In April of 1947, sixteen Freedom Riders (eight Black and eight white) from CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), led by Bayard Rustin and George Houser, arrived at the Chapel Hill bus station.  Four Freedom Riders (two Black and two white) were arrested as the bus they were riding left the Chapel Hill station. They were later convicted and, after a rejection of their appeals, Rustin and the two white protestors were sent to segregated chain gangs in 1949. The bus station remained segregated until, in response to protests in the early 1960s, the management removed the whites-only stools from its lunch counter and started offering exclusively stand-up service to all of its customers. The bus station was demolished in 2001 and the site is now occupied by the Franklin Hotel.

Trailways Bus Station

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Citation: “Trailways Bus Station,” From the Rock Wall, accessed June 13, 2024,

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 Trailways Bus Station

The Trailways bus station at 311 W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC, 1947.

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