Rosa Parks (1)

On 1st December 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man.

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1913 –2005) was a 42-year-old African American employed as a seamstress at a local department store.

On the evening of Thursday, 1st December 1955, after a long day of work, Rosa boarded a bus to go home. Black residents of Montgomery were not always able to avoid using municipal buses even though they found the Negroes-in-back policy humiliating (the front of the bus was reserved for white citizens, and the seats behind them for black ones).
About seventy percent of the passengers were black, and on that day, Rosa was one of them.
She paid her fare and sat in an empty seat in the first row of seats in the “coloured” section. Little by little, the bus began to fill.
The Montgomery city ordinance allowed bus drivers to assign seating, but it did not permit them to require passengers to leave their seats. Despite this, they usually required black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers when public transportation became full.

When, at a certain point on the route, a white man did not find a seat since the whites-only section was filled, bus driver James F. Blake told the riders in the four seats of the first row of the “coloured” section to stand, so he could add another row to the “white” section.
Rosa refused, the bus driver called the police and two police officers, after assessing the situation, arrested her.

On 5 December, the courts found her guilty of violating the city segregation law – although technically she had not taken a white-only seat as she was sitting in a coloured section – and fined her $10 plus $4 in court costs.

African American leaders, including E.D. Nixon and Martin Luther King organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott for the day of her trial.
It rained all that day, but the black community did not surrender: some rode in carpools, some travelled in black-operated cabs that charged the same fare as the bus, and others walked, some as far as 20 miles (30 km).
The boycott succeeded and the 40,000 black commuters continued it for 381 days. A lot of public buses stood idle for months and this severely damaged the finances of the transportation system in Montgomery.

The boycott engendered also anger and some violence in much of the white population, and Nixon’s and King’s homes were bombed. But this didn’t deter the boycotters or their leaders, who did not give in.

After several months, in November 1956, the Supreme Court decided to ban segregation on public transportation and the boycott ended in December, when the Court’s written order arrived in Montgomery.
Rosa Parks – who had lost her job due to economic sanctions used against activists, had suffered hardships and experienced harassment all year – became known as “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the civil rights movement.”

[Image by Adam Jones (Wikimedia Commons) – Diorama of Rosa Parks in Her Bus Seat – National Civil Rights Museum – Downtown Memphis – Tennessee – USA]

66 thoughts on “Rosa Parks (1)

  1. Somethings are eternal and no power, systems or persons can take them away. You have just reminded us once again: human rights are inalienable. Only God can guarantee them. Humans have tried and are still trying but we can never be perfect at it, at least…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ho visto molti film su questo argomento. Certo con Trump siano ritornati ad alimentare le divisioni. Io alle divisioni ci ho rinunciato …..meglio le addizioni!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rosa Parks was a brave woman. I went to Grad school in Alabama. She sparked off the Civil Rights movement, with Martin Luther King. The march form Selma to Montgomery was historical. At the U of A, I had a female Law teacher. She was black. A tough lady. 15 years before she wouldn’t have been allowed to teach in that very same university. Neither were there black students… The first two (Vivian Malone and James A.Hood enrolled in 1963, the National Guard sent by Kennedy escorted them to enroll against the stand of Guvner Wallace.
    My Law teacher’s name was Lena Prewitt. A hell of a law teacher. She gave us a unique explanation of how the Civil Rights Act was passed. A legal beauty. She is a very old lady now, but still alive and kicking. Of the same class as Rosa parks.
    Thanks for the post Luisa. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for this always timely issue. We have so much racial inequality in the United States. It took courage for Rosa Parks to do this and to have a greater community back her up for over a year. That led to the Supreme Court decision. Thank you for keeping her and her mission fresh in our minds. I am an anti racist. Like many others believe we have one human race.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have read (but not verified) that this was something that Martin Luther King, Jr had wanted for some time, but he wanted the right person to trigger the boycott. Rosa Parks was that person Whether this event was planned or occurred naturally, it certainly made a change for the better.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Sua mamma ha sofferto molto per questo, anche perchè era un bambini mingherlino (e lo è ancora9, quindi angherie anche fisiche.
        Sua mamma è iperprotettiva, ma per fortuna lui è ben risoluto (ora poi con una tipa come mia figlia vicino! Anche se molto dolce non gli passa mai la mosca sotto al naso….come si dice a Roma).

        Liked by 1 person

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