Twenty-one-year-old Tuskegee Institute student activist Samuel Younge Jr. spent January 3, 1966, registering black voters in Macon County, Alabama. He stopped at a gas station to use the restroom. The white attendant, 68-year-old Marvin Segrest, directed him to the “colored” restroom out back. When Younge said he wanted to use the regular public restroom, Segrest threatened to shoot him.
Younge reported Segrest to the police, then returned to the gas station and told Segrest the police were coming. The two men argued and Segrest shot at Younge, who hid in a bus. When he exited the bus, Segrest shot him in the head, killing him.
The shooting exacerbated tensions in Tuskegee between African Americans and pro-segregation whites. The day after the shooting, Tuskegee students launched protests that lasted for weeks. On January 7, 1966, 250 black students marched in downtown Tuskegee to protest the murder, ending with a rally on the steps of the local jail where Martin Segrest was being held.
Segrest was indicted for second degree murder and tried later that year. An all-white jury acquitted him on December 8, 1966.