Rosa Parks Took a Stand in 1955. We Cannot Lose That.
“The time had just come when I had been pushed as far as I could stand to be pushed, I suppose. I had decided that I would have to know, once and for all, what rights I had as a human being, and a citizen.” -Rosa Parks
This is a memorable day in history:
In Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks is jailed for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man, a violation of the city’s racial segregation laws. The successful Montgomery Bus Boycott, organized by a young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King, Jr., followed Park’s historic act of civil disobedience.
The bus boycott continued for the next year and resulted in a successful beginning for Dr. King’s nonviolent approach to the civil rights movement:
The boycott stretched on for more than a year, and participants carpooled or walked miles to work and school when no other means were possible. As African Americans previously constituted 70 percent of the Montgomery bus ridership, the municipal transit system suffered gravely during the boycott.
On November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Alabama state and Montgomery city bus segregation laws as being in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
On December 20, King issued the following statement: “The year old protest against city buses is officially called off, and the Negro citizens of Montgomery are urged to return to the buses tomorrow morning on a non-segregated basis.” The boycott ended the next day. Rosa Parks was among the first to ride the newly desegregated buses.
When Mrs. Parks died in 2005, her place in history was further highlighted when the U.S. Senate passed a resolution “allowing her body to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.”
As we honor the memory of Mrs. Parks as well as others who helped lead the march for civil rights in America, the popular 1968 song, Abraham, Martin, and John by Dion, offers a nod to civil rights leaders from that turbulent decade and beyond. The march continues.
“Rosa Parks tells us there’s always something we can do. She tells us that we all have responsibilities, to ourselves and to one another.” -President Barack Obama, 2013