African Americans are demonstrating a peaceful protest on the bridge and then police show up and shout vulgar things at them and make them get off the bride or else they would be arrested. They abused their power saying the peaceful protest was unlawful.
Culture and Cultural Diversity
Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on the bus to a white man when he asked her to move. The police said it was unlawful for her to refuse to give up her seat, arrested her and put her in jail.
Travelling Up North
Civil Rights Activists participated in a sit-in at a local diner, where they just sat at the counter waiting to be served, and ignored all of the hate they were receiving from the surrounding white people who didn't support the civil rights movement. The police were eventually called to come out and arrest the protesters, again claiming they were breaking the law by sitting there.
The scene with the radio in the beginning is happening in present day, specifically the day President Obama takes office. It's interesting because the character listening to the radio went through the Civil Rights Movement when he was younger, and now he has lived to see the day when a black man has been elected president. The culture of this country changed drastically within those 50 or so years.
The book talks about how the boy and his uncle are travelling up north to see other family. He talks about how his license plate attracts violence because it signifies that he is an African American. He then goes on to explain that as they are driving through the South, his uncle seems very worried and uptight the whole time, until they make it up north to Ohio where he seems to relax a good bit. This proves how different the cultures were during that time period in the north and south.