While lunch counter protests were being played out in the Carolinas, another civil rights chapter exploded in the spring of 1961.
It would be remembered as the Freedom Rides.
Charlotte attorney Charles Jones jumped in the fray after Klansman attacked and fire-bombed a Greyhound bus in Anniston, Alabama.
He said, "After 50 years, we are being celebrated as those who made a profound difference.
Righting the wrongs of Jim Crow laws made a critical difference for Jones.
"I knew that I had to join them, had to be a part of that," he said.
Black and White college students tested new desegregation laws at bus stations mainly the south.
At the Levine Museum of the New South, Tom Hanchett is getting ready for the screening of the PBS documentary titled Freedom Riders.
He said, "I think the way Charlotte handled the sit-ins and the freedom rides not exploding into violence is one of the reasons why we're a major new south center."
While Charles Jones holds on to a souvenir bus from the 40th anniversary, his mug shot from being arrested at the bus station in Montgomery is close to his desk.
He is also willing to share the torch of responsibility with a new generation.