African-Americans are boycotting the bus company that had their neighbor, Mrs. Rosa Parks, arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. Until they can sit wherever they wish on the bus, African-Americans are refusing to ride. They are walking.
For Alfa Merryfield, walking can be a problem. When he takes the bus he avoids the white boys who steal his pay for working in Mr. Greendale's grocery store. Losing the money is a disaster. He and his sister and his great-grandmother, who live together, need money to rent their two-room house. When Alfa loses his pay, they are short on the rent. To make matters worse, someone is stealing the money they save from where they hide it, and they, themselves, are accused of stealing two thousand dollars from a house where their grandmother is a cleaning woman.
Alfa wants to be a doctor and uses the scientific method to solve their theft problems. Alfa and his sister work hard to pay the rent and to find the thieves.
Alfa has learned, from the bus boycott and its leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to "walk the walk and talk the talk" in the spirit of nonviolence, and to respect himself and his dreams. As Alfa's own "Bus-Rider Blues" says about the world he knows: "It ain't never ever going to be the same."