Lest We Forget

Rosa Parks1913-2005

Montgomery, Alabama was one of the most segregated cities in the South. Black people, women in particular, where harassed by white bus drivers on a daily basis. Montgomery's segregation law stated that African Americans had to pay their bus fee at the front of the bus and then step out and enter the bus again at the rear. Blacks were allowed to sit only in the rear of the bus. They had to give up their seat whenever a white person was standing.

Every day black people stood crowded in the back of the bus while white people sat comfortably in the front. Bus stops in black neighborhoods were generally farther apart. The city also refused to hire black bus drivers. Over decades the black population had accepted this. Until a Black seamstress decided that would no longer succumb.

Rosa Parks says "No."

On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks was riding the bus back home after work. As more white people entered the bus Black bus riders were told to give up their seats. Rosa Parks refused. The bus driver called the police and she was arrested for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws.

Her arrest was the tipping point for Black activists E. D. Nixon and Jo Ann Robertson who had been trying to convince the Montgomery city council for years to alter the law of segregation in order to protect Black citizens from daily harassment. On the day of Rosa Parks' trial, Monday, December 5th, 1955, a boycott of the Montgomery buses by Black citizens was organized. The boycott was supposed to last for one day and was spear-headed by young Martin Luther King Jr. The boycott lasted more than a year and changed the United States of America.