December 1, 1955– Rosa Parks is Arrested for Civil Disobedience
“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Rosa Parks stood up for what she believed, actually she sat down for what she believed, but you get it. On the evening of December 1, 1955, Parks, an African-American, chose to take a seat on the bus for her ride home after work as a tailor’s assistant. She refused to give up her seat to a white male passenger and she was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law requiring black people to relinquish seats to white people when the bus was full. Blacks also had to sit at the back of the bus.
Park’s arrest began a 381 day boycott of the Montgomery bus system. It also led to a 1956 SCOTUS decision banning segregation on public transportation.
Parks was active in the Montgomery Chapter of the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People (NAACP). She served as the chapter’s secretary. Denied the right to vote on at least two occasions because she was a negro, Parks also worked with the Voters League to help African-American citizens to register to vote.
Parks’ arrest was followed by a bus boycott on her court date. To successfully challenge segregated public transport, however, the NAACP knew it needed continued action. The brand-new pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church took on the role of leader for the boycott. His name was Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. King. He insisted on nonviolent action to achieve the goal of justice. He said: “We must use the weapon of love”.
In December 1956, the Supreme Court banned segregation on public transportation, and the boycott ended over a year after it had begun. Rosa Parks is now known as the “Mother Of The Civil Rights Movement”.
We honor her by naming stuff for her. About a decade ago, there was a campaign to name a street for Parks here in Portland, one of the whitest cities in the USA. The powers that decide this sort of thing chose Portland Boulevard for the name change. It is in walking distance of my home. There is an extraordinary, hidden gem of a rose park at nearby Peninsula Park. I had vigorously advocated to name it: THE ROSA PARKS’ ROSE PARK, but no one was buying it. I thought it was so much nicer than naming a busy thoroughfare for her. But, no one cares what I think.
Given the situation, would you have done what Rosa Parks did?