Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rosa Parks

“I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
—Rosa Parks

On this day in 1955, civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. Her subsequent arrest set in motion the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Rosa Parks was tired that day, but not from her day’s work. She “was tired,” she said, “of giving in to white people.” On December 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery public bus to a white man, violating Montgomery’s segregation laws. She was immediately arrested. Upon news of her arrest, Montgomery’s Women’s Political Council quickly organized  a bus boycott to take place on the day of her trial, December 5. Three WPC members stayed up all that night churning out some 50,000 fliers to leaflet the city with the following day. The boycott was planned for a single day but lasted more than a year.
This action far from Parks’s first participation in civil rights activism, and she agreed to let the NACCP (of which she was an active member) use her arrest as a test case to challenge the segregation of Montgomery’s bus system. The extended boycott was overseen by the newly formed Montgomery Improvement Association and led by Martin Luther King, Jr. On December 20 of the following year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the city’s bus segregation laws were unconstitutional.
Parks was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996, and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999. She is known as “the mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” 

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1 comment:

  1. There is so much buzz right now about the movie "Lincoln", and rightfully so. But it's so interesting to remember that the fight for equality went on long after Lincoln ended slavery. Ordinary people like Parks fought the battle--and still fight it--in their daily lives. I really enjoyed learning the role that the WPC played in this historic event.