Sarah Mae Flemming Brown (June 28, 1933-June 16, 1993) was an African American woman who was expelled from a bus in Columbia, South Carolina, seventeen months before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat on an Alabama bus in 1955. Flemming's lawsuit against the bus company played an important role later in the Parks case.
Sarah Mae Flemming was born June 28, 1933 to Mack and Rosella Goodwin Flemming in Eastover, South Carolina. She grew up on the family's 188-acre (0.76 km) farm and completed the tenth or eleventh grade at Webber High School in Eastover before leaving school to work. She spent a year working for an uncle in Ohio before returning to South Carolina, where she moved in with a cousin and began working two jobs as a domestic worker in Columbia, South Carolina.
On June 22, 1954, Flemming boarded a bus to go to work. She took the only empty seat, which she believed began the rows in which black riders were allowed to sit. The driver challenged her, and humiliated, she signaled to get off at the next stop. The bus driver blocked her attempt to exit through the front of the bus and punched her in the stomach as he ordered her out the rear door.