Rosa Parks Day is December 1st.
Rosa Parks, born February 4, 1913, was a seamstress. She was also the secretary for the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. Twelve years before her history-making arrest, Ms. Parks was stopped from boarding a city bus by driver James F. Blake, who ordered her to board at the back door and then drove off without her. She vowed never again to ride a bus driven by Blake.
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was sitting in the front row for African American people. When a Caucasian man boarded the bus, the bus driver told everyone in her row to move back. At that moment, Ms. Parks realized that she was again on a bus driven by Blake. While all of the other African American people in her row complied, Ms. Parks refused. She was arrested for failing to obey the driver’s seat assignments. City ordinances did not explicitly mandate segregation but they did give the bus driver authority to assign seats. Found guilty on December 5, Ms. Parks was fined $10.00 plus a court cost of $4.00, but she appealed.
Rosa Park’s action gained notoriety which led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This was an influential event in the Civil Rights Movement, and was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955 to December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, took effect and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional. Many important figures in the Civil Rights Movement took part in the boycott, including Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy. The 381-day boycott almost bankrupted the bus company and effectively made segregation in buses unconstitutional and illegal.
It is on the day of Rosa Park’s arrest that we commemorate the sacrifice she made on that day and the struggle she continued to make for justice and equal rights.