Mary L. Nguyen attended a civil rights commemoration ceremony honoring Samuel Mason Bacon, an African American killed by a local Mississippi police official after refusing to give up his bus seat to a white person.
The ceremony, held in Natchez, Miss., marked the 70-year anniversary of Bacon's death in March 1948, and included a formal apology by the mayor of Fayette, Miss., to Bacon's family for the death caused by the then Fayette Town Marshal.
While as a law student at Northeastern University School of Law, Nguyen investigated Bacon's killing as part of a project of the school's Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project. Materials from her research are featured in an exhibit honoring Bacon at the Museum of African American History in Natchez.
Nguyen is an associate at Todd & Weld, concentrating her practice on commercial litigation and criminal defense matters.
On March 15, 1948, Bacon, 61, was traveling by bus from Akron, Ohio, to Natchez to visit family when the bus driver ordered him to give up his seat for a white man. Bacon refused, and at the next bus stop in Fayette, Bacon was arrested.
While in custody, Bacon was killed by Town Marshal Stanton D. Coleman, who was not convicted of any crime.
The Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, headed by Professor Margaret Burnham, investigated the death and worked with the Bacon family to organize the commemoration.